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Doctor claims natural immunity equal to Covid-19 vaccinations

Court Case on Natural Immunity: Michael Watson and his wife, Sophia Cannonier (File photograph)

The family doctor of a couple accused of breaking Covid-19 quarantine rules said that natural immunity could be just as safe as a vaccination.

Henry Dowling told Magistrates’ Court that, as long as the level of antibodies were the same, he saw no reason why someone with natural immunity should be treated differently than someone vaccinated against the same illness.

He said: “Based upon antibodies present, that would be one reason not to treat anyone differently.

“If the vaccines were supposed to mimic natural immunity by giving them antibodies then using the presence of those antibodies should be sufficient to say that you have reached an immune state.”

Dr Dowling claimed that Sophia Cannonier, 53, and Michael Watson, 46, had sufficient antibodies to qualify for natural immunity, but could not say how many antibodies they had.

Ms Cannonier and Mr Watson have denied refusing to comply with a mandatory quarantine and failure to complete a Travel Authorisation form on July 11.

They have also pleaded not guilty to leaving their Devonshire home on July 20, before the end of their quarantine period.

Ms Cannonier has also denied allowing unauthorised people to visit her on the same day.

Dr Dowling confirmed that Mr Watson and Ms Cannonier contacted him last January for an antibody test after they contracted Covid-19.

He said that, while the tests did not reveal how many antibodies a subject had, it would show whether or not they had enough antibodies to protect them from further infection.

Dr Dowling was shown records of an antibody test from Mr Watson. He confirmed that Mr Watson passed this threshold of protection.

Dr Dowling was not shown Ms Cannonier’s antibody test.

Dr Dowling said that natural immunity occurred when someone developed enough antibodies to combat a virus or disease after exposure to the illness.

He said that these antibodies protected someone against a specific illness and that natural immunity could become long-term with frequent enough exposure.

Vaccines, Dr Dowling added, helped the body develop antibodies by mimicking the infection process without leading to a dangerous level of symptoms.

He said that vaccines helped produce antibodies that targeted an integral protein in a disease.

Natural immunity, on the other hand, could develop antibodies that targeted different parts of the disease and could vary depending on the person, he said.

Dr Dowling said that natural immunity and vaccinations were intended to lower transmissibility – but warned this did not always happen.

He said: “Vaccines are usually created to help the body to create antibodies that neutralise the virus or bacteria, so they kill it before it can become a threat.

“If you do not create neutralising antibodies then what can end up happening is you can still harbour the virus and allow it to multiply and later spread.”

Ms Cannonier, who last took the stand on June 10, told the court yesterday that she and her husband took every step to make sure the public was not put at risk.

But Alan Richards, for the Crown, suggested that she ignored every action taken to have her comply with Covid-19 regulations, including a refusal to sign a Travel Application form.

He said that she refused to acknowledge a hand-delivered letter from the Department of Health reminding them of their two-week quarantine because it did not benefit her.

Mr Richards added that the couple’s bail forms said that they must stay in quarantine until they received a negative Day 8 test result – but not that they could leave after the Government’s two-week quarantine.

He said: “There is nothing in this document that indicates the court was cancelling, varying or doing anything to the conditions of your quarantine.”

Mr Richards added: “You had decided that you were not going to comply with quarantine and you were latching on to the bail form as something you could characterise as a justification for leaving quarantine early.”

The trial continues.

• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.