E.A fatal cascade of immune reactions, which is presumably due to the special composition of the vaccine, is said to lead to the rare serious side effects that have led to the restriction of use of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine “Vaxzevria” for people under 60 in Germany. This is what Andreas Greinacher from the University of Greifswald reported after the publication of a new, not yet peer-reviewed article on the online platform “Research Square”.
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The rare venous thrombosis with a coagulation disorder that occurs at the same time is “very likely a class effect” of the vector vaccines, in which the actual vaccine is injected into the body with the help of very special adenoviruses. In the case of mRNA viruses, the undesired consequential damage that has been given the name “Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia” – VITT for short – is not to be expected. And other vector vaccines, such as “Sputnik V” or the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, would not necessarily have to be affected. However, this has not yet been investigated.
About eighty of the life-threatening side effects, mostly cerebral vein thrombosis, have been reported in Germany so far. There should be more than 150 reports across Europe and around 200 worldwide. According to official estimates, one such serious side effect occurs for every 100,000 vaccinations with the vaccines. “It may take years to clear up the cause in all details,” Greinacher said in an international press conference. However, he and his team are sure that after a few weeks of laboratory work, they will be able to track down the causes.
The wrong reaction starts shortly after the vaccination
Overall, there is a whole cascade of reactions that are triggered after vaccination. Some of the more than a thousand proteins that are included in the production and formulation of the adenovirus vector vaccine, as well as parts of the adenovirus envelope itself, are believed to be involved. It is apparently unclear exactly what these are in detail. The first clear symptoms of blood clots in the veins – shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain, for example – appear at the earliest four to five days after the vaccination (later in other vaccinees), but the actual false reaction of the immune system starts shortly after Vaccination. This is when an inflammatory process begins, a very common and evolutionarily very old immune reaction that is directed against ingredients in the vaccine. What was noticeable in Greinacher’s experiments was the comparatively high concentration of the complexing agent EDTA in the Astra – Zeneca vaccine, which is industrially produced on a large scale and, as a reactive substance, is added to harmless cleaning agents or agrochemicals. The EDTA could lead to the permeability of other proteins that are involved in the reaction around the puncture site.
According to Greinacher, the suspected vaccine ingredients are likely to be a cofactor of the faulty immune reaction that has to be determined more precisely. Together with the adenovector proteins, which can bind to the blood platelets, the process is initiated. The platelets are activated, which then release platelet factor 4 into the blood. This combines with the proteins to form relatively large complexes, which then trigger a subsequent reaction: antibodies of the immunoglobulin-G type attack these PF-4 complexes. All of this happens within the first twenty-four hours and can be noticed through fever and acute pain or even chills. Only then do the next stages begin, which later lead to the thrombosis and coagulation disorders.
The acute inflammation triggers B immune cells, which form autoantibodies against the PF-4 complexes. This triggers a kind of immunological chain reaction on the surface of the platelets in the few people affected, in which, in addition to special immune cells such as granulocytes and monocytes and parts of the complement system, a DNA-degrading enzyme – DNAse – is also involved. This is supposed to break down the DNA released from granulocytes. In those affected by VITT, the activity of this enzyme is significantly reduced, and this is possibly one reason why the immune reaction at the PF-4 complex continues unchecked.
It remains unclear why the misdirected reaction only takes place in a few and, of all people, in younger people. Perhaps, as Greinacher speculated, “all the naturally built-in brakes that could keep the immune system under control will fail at the same time”.
Greinacher’s team is currently working with vaccination experts from Johnson & Johnson to clarify whether similar collateral damage can be expected with the vector vaccine, which has just been approved in the EU.
Whether one of the rare derailments of the immune system is in progress can be determined after the first symptoms – i.e. after a few days – with the help of an Elisa blood test. Those affected can then be treated with immunoglobulin cocktails, which are also used for other autoimmune diseases.
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