This is the 'bug' in the upstream, it seems that when Thunderbird is
configured NOT to fetch messages from Imap folders by default, adding
new headers to search by won't work. One has to unsubscribe and then re-
subscribe again to the particular folder (so that TB re-downloads all
the headers) for the search to work.

Sometimes it is enough to just repair the folder in question, but I
haven't figured out why on occasion this won't work.

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  Searching messages by arbitrary headers sometimes doesn't work

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