The spike protein from Covid vaccination can persist in a person’s tissues and immune cells for months after vaccination and is associated with ongoing immune system inflammation and debilitating symptoms, a new study by U.S. researchers has found.
The study, currently in pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed), analysed blood samples from 50 vaccinated people who were suffering from persistent symptoms similar to those seen in Long Covid such as fatigue, brain fog and headache weeks or months after vaccination (an average of 105 days at time of study, ranging from 38 to 245 days). These samples were compared to blood samples from 35 vaccinated people who did not have such symptoms. None of the participants had had Covid, confirmed by antibody and T-cell tests.
The researchers found significantly elevated levels of spike protein in the blood immune cells of those suffering with symptoms similar to Long Covid post-vaccination compared with those without symptoms post-vaccination. This can be seen in the diagram below: the higher levels in the right-hand patient columns compared with the left-hand control columns signify higher levels of spike protein (S1) in two different types of immune cell.
In addition to elevated spike protein levels, the researchers found indicators of immune system inflammation in those with symptoms post-vaccination. Based on this they suggest a mechanism whereby the persisting spike protein in the immune cells triggers an inflammatory immune system response which causes the symptoms. The authors go into some detail about the particular biological pathways which could be involved.