A new Swedish study has the potential to change our understanding of COVID vaccine spike proteins, including where they end up in human cells. Surprising discoveries suggest severe abnormalities in the cell's DNA repair systems as science catches up.
COVID Spike Protein Created in Vaccines 'Hijacks' Human Body DNA Repair and Adaptive Immune System Mechanisms, according to a new study.
READ THE REPORT ON THE WEBSITE OF THE US National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34696485/
Under electron microscopy, SARS-CoV-2, which causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), may be seen. The full-length spike protein produced by gene therapy mRNA and viral vector vaccinations causes damage to the human body's DNA repair and adaptive immune system systems, according to a recent Swedish study published in the journal Viruses. (Image courtesy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases through EurekaAlert from the American Association for the Advancement of Science!)
The full length spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), affects a vital DNA repair mechanism involved in the human body's adaptive immunity, according to a recent study published by two scientists from a Swedish institution.
The study, titled SARS–CoV–2 Spike Impairs DNA Damage Repair and Inhibits V(D)J Recombination In Vitro, was co-authored by Hui Jiang and Ya-Fang Mei of Umea University's Department of Clinical Microbiology and Virology and published in the scientific journal Viruses on Oct. 13 after being submitted on Aug. 20.
The Abstract states, “Clinical studies have indicated that patients with severe COVID–19 exhibit delayed and weak adaptive immune responses,” and that the mechanism SARS-CoV-2 uses to impede adaptive immunity was currently unclear.
Jiang and Mei note this topic is of critical interest because, “Adaptive immunity plays a crucial role in fighting against SARS–CoV–2 infection and directly influences the clinical outcomes of patients.”
Immunity that adapts to its surroundings
The importance of the human body's adaptive immunity function is described in a textbook on human biology accessible on the University of Minnesota's website, which states that it takes effect "following exposure to an antigen either from a pathogen or a vaccination."
While adaptive immunity takes far longer to form than the innate immune system, it has the advantage of being extremely specific to the invading pathogen.
To explain antigen exposure, the text gives two examples. "An antigen is a tiny, unique molecule found on a pathogen that causes the immune system to respond. A unique sequence of 8 amino acids in a protein present only in an influenza virus, the virus that causes 'the flu,' is an example of an antigen."
"Another example is a short chain of carbohydrates found on the cell wall of the bacteria that causes meningitis, Neisseria meningitidis."
It goes on to explain how the adaptive immune system develops B and T cell lymphocytes to confront an invasion, saying, "In adaptive immunity, activated T and B cells whose surface binding sites are unique to the antigenom generate B and T cell lymphocytes to combat an enemy."
COVID’s Immune System Impact
The Umea study summarizes several clinical studies in order to illustrate the effect the virus has on the adaptive immune system, “SARS–CoV–2 infection extraordinarily affects lymphocyte number and function. Compared with mild and moderate survivors, patients with severe COVID–19 manifest a significantly lower number of total T cells, helper T cells, and suppressor T cells.”
“Additionally, COVID–19 delays IgG and IgM levels after symptom onset. Collectively, these clinical observations suggest that SARS–CoV–2 affects the adaptive immune system. However, the mechanism by which SARS–CoV–2 suppresses adaptive immunity remains unclear.”
It further explains that the DNA repair system and immune systems are not only “the primary systems that higher organisms rely on for defense against diverse threats and tissue homeostasis,” but that cutting-edge science has shown “these two systems are interdependent, especially during lymphocyte development and maturation.”
The authors state that a loss of function in crucial DNA repair proteins have been found to “inhibit the production of functional B and T cells, leading to immunodeficiency.”
This point is critical to the topic of defending public health against the pandemic because, “In contrast, viral infection usually induces DNA damage via different mechanisms…If DNA damage cannot be properly repaired, it will contribute to the amplification of viral infection-induced pathology.”
“Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether SARS–CoV–2 proteins hijack the DNA damage repair system, thereby affecting adaptive immunity in vitro.”
Full-Length Vaccine Spikes The authors preface their Results section by stating, “DNA damage repair occurs mainly in the nucleus to ensure genome stability,” but points out that with SARS-CoV-2, its proteins generated during infection are synthesized in the cytostol (liquid matrix inside a cell). The duo constructed “viral protein expression plasmids together with spike and nucleoprotein expression plasmids,” finding results consistent with multiple other studies that discovered “proteins are indeed localized in the nucleus, and nucleoproteins are mainly localized in the cytosol.”
However, the study quietly noted, “Surprisingly, we found the abundance of the spike protein in the nucleus.” The researchers begin to tie this key point into how DNA damage repair is inhibited, “Because spike proteins are critical for mediating viral entry into host cells and are the focus of most vaccine strategies, we further investigated the role of spike proteins in DNA damage repair and its associated V(D)J recombination.” “In the native state, spike proteins exist as inactive full–length proteins,” the authors state, noting that host cell proteases cleave the spike into subunits during the process of its entering the cell at the time of infection. This point was important because several different testing methodologies used in the study found that “Only the full–length spike protein strongly inhibited” two different kinds of DNA repair mechanisms, generating the definitive conclusion that “the spike protein directly affects DNA repair in the nucleus.” Another array of tests concurrently determined that “SARS–CoV–2 full–length spike protein inhibits DNA damage repair by hindering DNA repair protein recruitment.” This finding is significant to the public because, as the authors note, “Many approved SARS–CoV–2 vaccines, such as mRNA vaccines and adenovirus–COVID–19 vaccines, have been developed based on the full–length spike protein.” Today’s novel gene therapy vaccines are substantially different from classical inactivated virus vaccines. While the latter uses a neutered variant of the whole pathogen to expose the immune system and elicit a response, the former does not use any pathogen at all, instead relying on a messenger RNA genetic instruction (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech) or a double-stranded DNA genetic instruction delivered in a vector of an adenovirus (AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson) to force human cells to grow the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in an attempt to cause an immune system response. The authors then tested whether the spike protein inhibited V(D)J recombination, “For this, we designed an in vitro V(D)J recombination reporter system according to a previous study,” and found that “Compared with the empty vector, spike protein over expression inhibited RAG–mediated V(D)J recombination in this in vitro reporter system.” “…Our data provide[s] valuable details on the involvement of spike protein subunits in DNA damage repair, indicating that full–length spike–based vaccines may inhibit the recombination of V(D)J in B cells, which is also consistent with a recent study that a full–length spike–based vaccine induced lower antibody titers compared to the RBD–based vaccine.”
In the Discussion section of the paper, the authors are conclusive about the impact the virus has on the immune system, “Our findings provide evidence of the spike protein hijacking the DNA damage repair machinery and adaptive immune machinery in vitro.” “Although no evidence has been published that SARS–CoV–2 can infect thymocytes or bone marrow lymphoid cells, our in vitro V(D)J reporter assay shows that the spike protein intensely impeded V(D)J recombination.” Finally, the duo posited a theory as to why COVID-19 is hitting the elderly harder, “This may be because SARS–CoV–2 spike proteins can weaken the DNA repair system of older people and consequently impede V(D)J recombination and adaptive immunity.”