Can vaccines against Covid produce effects similar to those of the disease? And is it possible for them to do so for a long time? An article published in the magazine Science analyzes a set of cases in search of verifying this possibility.
Among them is the situation of Brianne Dressen, a former preschool teacher in Saratoga Springs, Utah, United States, who said she began to feel fluctuations in heart rate and muscle weakness after receiving the Covid vaccine. Based on this case, researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study in Dressen and other people who were in a similar situation, but did not reach conclusions about whether vaccines could have caused this type of effects.
Now, the article mentions, a small number of researchers are beginning to investigate whether the biology of prolonged Covid could be linked to some side effects of the vaccine. “You have to be very careful before linking Covid vaccines with complications because you can reach the wrong conclusions,” he assured. Science Avindra Nath, clinical director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
“In the Covid vaccine, the effects are purely and exclusively due to the patient’s inflammatory immune response to the vaccine”
Ricardo Teijeiro, member of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases
These symptoms, like the ones Dressen had, are difficult to study because patients may lack a clear diagnosis. In any case, understanding these types of problems could help those who suffer from them. In addition, the article says, researchers exploring vaccine adverse effects emphasize that the risk of complications from Covid-19 infection far outweighs that of any side effect of the vaccine.
In this context, THE NATION he has communicated Ricardo Teijeiro, infectologist at Hospital Pirovano and member of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases (SADI): “The adverse effects (pain, discomfort, and fever) are often caused by the same inflammatory process that the Covid vaccines produce, but they are not related to the disease. They cannot generate a process like a similar disease since this only occurs in live virus vaccines, such as measles or rubella. In the Covid vaccine, the effects are purely and exclusively due to the patient’s inflammatory immune response to the vaccine”.
Martín Stryjewski, Head of Hospitalization at the Norberto Quirno Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research (Cemic) and member of the board of directors of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases (SADI), explained: “Vaccines are based on the introduction of particles (whole viruses, viral subunits such as proteins and/or the genome of the virus that will generate said proteins) with the capacity to generate a specific immune response. The body’s first response to an unknown particle (antigen) is to generate a primary immune response, which has to do with the activation of cells that present or process said antigens. This primary response generates certain chemical mediators known as cytokines, which are associated with fever, muscle pain, and fatigue.
And he added: “These cytokines are conceptually the same as those that cause infections in their initial phase. Hence the resemblance of the first immune response between vaccines and infections. As there is no actual infection (for example, an actively replicating virus) this primary response is usually short-lived and self-limited in the case of vaccines.”.
Regarding the possibility that vaccines could produce prolonged effects, Teijeiro said still much research is required. “Many patients who were vaccinated later come into contact with the virus without realizing it. They arrive because they are unwell but when the PCR is swabbed it gives them a positive result. This means that in reality the discomfort and fatigue, which lasted over time, was not caused by the vaccine but because they had contact with the virus and were asymptomatic.
Stryjewski, for its part, concluded: “It is very speculative to say that the prolonged symptoms of vaccination are due to this mechanism. The vast majority of vaccines do not produce any long-term effects and, on the other hand, hundreds of thousands of lives are being saved.”