Preprint in Cell Detailing Peer-Reviewed Study Reveals mRNA and Spike Protein Found in Lymph Nodes up to 8 Weeks Post-COVID Vaccination

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Science & News, Vaccines

Data from a recently published pre-print study in the medical journal Cell revealed that rather than being degraded quickly, the COVID-19 vaccine spike antigen and mRNA persist for weeks in lymph node Germinal Centers (GC’s). The spike protein is the antigen used exclusively by the vaccines to elicit an immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccines using a spike protein do not contain any of the virus but rather the gene sequence that causes the spike protein to be made in the body. The idea is that the spike protein produced by the gene encoding it elicits a response by the immune system to produce antibodies directed against the spike. When a virus infects the body, antibodies recognize the spike protein and attack it thus preventing its nasty effects.

The study investigators evaluated whether antibodies stimulated by mRNA vaccination (BNT162b2), including third-dose boosting, differ from those generated by infection or adenoviral (ChAdOx1-S and Gam-COVID-Vac) or inactivated viral (BBIBP-CorV) vaccines. Human lymph nodes were analyzed after infection or mRNA vaccination for correlates of serological differences. Among the data the investigators concluded that, in contrast to disrupted germinal centers (GCs) in lymph nodes during infection, mRNA vaccination stimulates robust GCs containing vaccine mRNA and spike antigen up to 8 weeks post-vaccination in some cases. 

The GC’s play a crucial role in the immune system, it is where B-cells – which help produce long-term immunity – mature and learn to make antibodies to infection more efficiently. The researchers also reported finding vaccine mRNA outside the germinal centers, though rarely.

The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and the CDC both emphasize that both mRNA and spike proteins generated by COVID-19 vaccines are degraded in a “few days” to “a few weeks” and are discarded by the body. Subscribe to the Trialsitenews “COVID-19” ChannelNo spam – we promise

Researchers also said they had found spike protein in the blood following mRNA shots at levels as high as those produced by coronavirus infection itself: “At least some portion of spike antigen generated after administration of BNT162b2 becomes distributed into the blood. We detected spike antigen in 96% of vaccinees in plasma collected one to two days after the prime injection, with antigen levels reaching as high as 174 pg/mL. The range of spike antigen concentrations in the blood of vaccinees at this early time point largely overlaps with the range of spike antigen concentrations reported in plasma in a study of acute infection.”

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