Research Papers

Vaccine Adjuvants and their Link to Adverse Reactions


A COVID-19 infection has been linked to increased morbidity and mortality, which prompted the development of widespread vaccine use to prevent future infections. While vaccinations showed modest efficacy in reducing mortality and morbidity, they didn’t prevent the further spread of infections. During the pandemic, there has also been a rise in cardiovascular diseases (COVID-Heart Syndrome), with speculation on whether COVID-19 infections or vaccines are to blame. The authors of this paper hypothesized that adjuvants in the vaccines are the main contributors to cardiovascular disorders and in this paper, explored some of the reasons why. They explained that adjuvants may trigger various pathological breakdowns including autoimmunity, direct toxicity, anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity, and more. Adjuvants are added to enhance immune responses but the authors are concerned about their potential to trigger adverse effects in the cardiovascular system. The ‘bystander effect’ is also explained, which suggests that adjuvants in the immune system may uncover hidden self-antigens, sparking an autoimmune reaction. While vaccine safety research has traditionally focused on adjuvants’ efficacy and immune-boosting properties, their potential role in adverse reactions demands attention. This review underscores the need for further investigation into the impact of adjuvants on immune responses, particularly concerning COVID-19 heart syndrome.

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COVID-19 infection is a multi-system clinical disorder that was associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Even though antiviral therapies such as Remdesvir offered modest efficacy in reducing the mortality and morbidity, they were not efficacious in reducing the risk of future infections. So, FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines which are widely administered in the general population worldwide. These COVID-19 vaccines offered a safety net against future infections and re-infections. Most of these vaccines contain inactivated virus or spike protein mRNA that are primarily responsible for inducing innate and adaptive immunity. These vaccines were also formulated to contain supplementary adjuvants that are beneficial in boosting the immune response. During the pandemic, clinicians all over the world witnessed an uprise in the incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (COVID-Heart Syndrome) in patients with and without cardiovascular risk factors. Clinical researchers were not certain about the underlying reason for the upsurge of cardiovascular disorders with some blaming them on COVID-19 infections while others blaming them on COVID-19 vaccines. Based on the literature review, we hypothesize that adjuvants included in the COVID-19 vaccines are the real culprits for causation of cardiovascular disorders. Operation of various pathological signaling events under the influence of these adjuvants including autoimmunity, bystander effect, direct toxicity, anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS), anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity, genetic susceptibility, epitope spreading, and anti-idiotypic antibodies were partially responsible for stirring up the onset of cardiovascular disorders. With these mechanisms in place, a minor contribution from COVID-19 virus itself cannot be ruled out. With that being said, we strongly advocate for careful selection of vaccine adjuvants included in COVID-19 vaccines so that future adverse cardiac disorders can be averted.

Article Publication Date: 04/02/2024
DOI: 10.1177/251513552412284

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