Data from several Covid-19 vaccines show that injecting them saves a person from being hospitalized and dying. But can they prevent chronic and long-term complications of the disease, which are seen in a small percentage of patients?
“This is a very important question that we do not have a clear answer to at the moment,” said Timothy Henrich, a virologist and viral immunologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who is studying the long-term effects of Crohn’s disease.
The currently tested Covid-19 vaccines, including the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax vaccines, are all highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death, and play a major role in reducing stress on countries’ health systems. But vaccines do not guarantee that a person will not have coronary heart disease. It is true that in many cases they have reduced the acute form of the disease to a mild form, but data from clinical studies have shown that some volunteers remained ill despite being vaccinated. In addition, it is not yet clear whether vaccines completely eradicate the viral infection or just the symptoms of the disease.
Scientists do not know exactly whether a mutation in a person can cause long-term symptoms after vaccination. Priya Duggal, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University who studies the long-term effects of Crohn’s like Henrik, does not rule out the following: “Many people who experience chronic symptoms do not become seriously ill in the early stages of the infection. They were. They are not necessarily hospitalized patients. “Some of them are either asymptomatic or with mild symptoms in the early stages.”
Unfortunately, a small percentage of Covid-19 patients develop a long-term form of the disease that can last for months, with side effects such as taste and smell disturbances, fever and shortness of breath. Researchers do not know exactly what causes the symptoms to stay with the patient after the chronic phase of the infection, but Henrik says several mechanisms can cause the condition.
One possible hypothesis is that the immune system of long-term patients has not been able to eliminate the virus at the onset of infection. In this case, the patient appears to be well, but particles or fragments of the virus remain in his body and damage him, which will apparently be eliminated by vaccination. “These are all hypotheses, but injecting a vaccine can produce a very effective immune response and a more complete viral clearance,” said Aaron Ring, an immunologist at Yale University School of Medicine. “If we work with this mechanism, vaccination can eliminate some of those side effects.”
But what if we did not have such a mechanism and the vaccine did not completely eradicate the virus? In this case, the vaccine can no longer directly prevent post-coronary symptoms. Infection can irritate the immune system and cause it to attack organs that will take a long time to heal. If the patient continues to develop a mild form after vaccination, the virus will theoretically be able to stimulate such a mechanism in the body.
Researchers do not guarantee that a person will not have coronary heart disease again after being vaccinated. “I think there is a small percentage of people who can get the long-term type of Covid-19 after being vaccinated,” says Dugal.
However, Jessica Dine, a pulmonologist at the University of Pennsylvania, says that injecting the vaccine, which turns the severe form of Covid-19 into a mild or mild form, is unlikely to increase the incidence of the long-term form of the disease. “Usually we do not see this happening in other vaccines,” he said. After getting the flu shot, you can still get a mild form of the flu. “But we do not see an increase in cases such as inflammation after a viral infection.”
Dean predicts that with increasing vaccination, the number of patients with the long-term type of Covid will decrease. Currently, the percentage of people who develop long-term symptoms after developing Covid-19 is high, and some statistics indicate about 10% or more. Dugal hopes to reduce vaccination to 5 percent or less.
Researchers point out that vaccines can reduce the number of people with long-term infections by reducing the number of infections in the general population. “When more people are vaccinated, the spread of the virus decreases,” says Dugal. This means that fewer people will get sick and fewer will have long-term symptoms.