Immunologist warns Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines may cause neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s
In a paper published in the journal Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Classen reported that mRNA-based vaccines like the two jabs can misfold proteins in the body that are linked to the development of neurodegenerative disorders.
Long-term risks of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are the only jabs for COVID-19 approved for use in the United States. They are also the first vaccines made using mRNA technology to be approved for human use.
Both jabs work by injecting genetic material called mRNA that codes for a critical fragment of the spike protein – the molecule used by SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 – to infect human cells. Once this genetic material is inside the body, the muscle cells translate them to make the spike protein.
The immune system then gets a preview of what the real virus looks like without supposedly causing disease. When a vaccinated individual gets infected, the immune system releases antibodies that can neutralize the real virus and protect the individual from COVID-19.
But in his study, Classen found that mRNA-vaccines could favor the development of various diseases.
After sampling the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and analyzing its RNA sequences, he identified several sequences that can misfold certain proteins in the body. When misfolded, these proteins can potentially cause Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative disorders, according to Classen.
He also said that mRNA-based vaccines may cause several more adverse events, such as infections that are more serious than COVID-19. Because the vaccine places the spike protein on the surface of human cells, according to Classen, it may serve as a receptor for other foreign pathogens.
“If those who argue that COVID-19 is actually a bioweapon are correct, then a second potentially more dangerous virus may be released that binds spike protein found on the host cells of vaccine recipients,” Classen wrote in his paper, referring to the possibility that the certain powerful personalities engineered the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, he continued, data about how long the spike protein will be present on human cells is not publicly available.
Classen also raised the possibility that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna jabs could contribute to diabetes. Past studies he co-authored suggest that vaccines can give rise to chronic conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes three to four years after vaccination.
Classen concluded that these risks should have been taken into consideration before approving both jabs for use, especially as the vaccines were developed without extensive long-term safety testing.
mRNA vaccines may be dangerous in the long term
Many researchers have identified potential long-term risks to mRNA-based vaccines. According to an article published in May last year in the journal Medical Science Monitor, these risks include the possible development of autoimmunity (where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues) and the toxic effects of the vaccines’ components including the RNA sequences.
Though the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines already rolled out in many countries, their long-term side effects are not yet well-established. The adverse reactions that experts are aware of are short-term side effects.
“We know about short-term side effects, and the vast majority of side effects following vaccination occur within the first 30 to 40 days,” said William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
While the people who participated in clinical vaccine trials have surpassed this timeline, it’s still too early to tell what the long-term side effects of the coronavirus vaccines are. Additional follow-up in the months and years to come is necessary for a fuller understanding of their risks.