Since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world more than two years ago, more than 4.5 billion people worldwide have been fully vaccinated against it. Now, more and more people are concerned that the spike proteins used in vaccines and present in the virus are the cause of long-term COVID syndrome.
The spike protein, also called the S protein, is the major structural protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. It is a distinctive structure that protrudes from the surface of the virus, forming the crown shape from which coronaviruses get their name. Corona is the Latin word for "crown" or "wreath".
When the pandemic first spread, people's understanding of the spike protein was very limited. It was thought that the spike protein only played the role of getting into our cells by binding to ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) receptors on our cell walls. However, scientists have slowly discovered that the effects of this protein are manifold and interact with cell tissues other than ACE2 receptors.
8 ways spike protein damages the body
During the more than two-year COVID-19 pandemic, many studies have examined the spike protein's effects from various aspects and found it to be harmful to the human body in several ways, including:
1. Damage to lung cells (including lung alveoli and lung endothelial cells).
2. Damage to mitochondria and DNA structures.
3. Cardiovascular cell damage.
4. Increase the risk of blood clots.
5. Damage to brain cells.
6. Promote inflammation.
7. Suppression of immunity.
8. Increases the risk of cancer.
We go into detail on each of these points.
S proteins can affect multiple organs
When the virus enters the human body, the spike proteins affect various organs in different ways. Studies have shown that many organ cells can be attacked by spike proteins, such as those in the heart, brain and cardiovascular system. Additionally, an article published in 2021 can be found atbioRxivThe Preprint Repository states that S proteins cause:
- Type 1 catalytic receptors in the kidneys are elevated in kidney cell tissue and these types of receptors can become hosts for the virus, making the kidneys more susceptible to viral infections.
- Cells in the small intestine to stimulate a variety of L-SIGN receptors (liver/lymph node-specific intracellular adhesion molecules 3 that do not capture integrin) to defend against pathogens. However, this causes a reaction that eventually makes the small intestine more susceptible to viral infections. A similar situation can also occur in other organs such as the kidneys and the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine).
- the number of DC-SIGN receptors (non-integrin-3 dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecules) in the lungs is increased, which can lead to inflammatory symptoms in the lungs.
Additionally, spike proteins can cause varying degrees of organ oxidation, causing more cells to die prematurely and putting the body in a hyper-oxidized state, which can further increase the risk of cancer.
A new study published inJournal of the American Heart Associationfound that spike proteins also have a direct impact on lung function.
When spike proteins are present in the human body, the walls of lung alveolar cells begin to thicken and solidify, and lung function declines. Air sacs are small, balloon-shaped air sacs that expand and contract in our lungs when we breathe.
Spike proteins also affect the function of cellular mitochondria in the lungs. Mitochondria are the power plants of our cells and therefore the energy base of the body.
Spike proteins damage mitochondria, potentially causing prolonged COVID
Under normal circumstances, mitochondria in cells are cellular tubular powerhouses responsible for energy synthesis.
When spike proteins stimulate our lung alveolar cells, or endothelial cells (which line our blood and lymph vessels), the mitochondrial structure changes dramatically and becomes severely fragmented, and the number of tubular mitochondria is greatly reduced. When cells in the alveoli or endothelial tissues are damaged, they no longer efficiently produce energy, likely causing the cells to enter a state of premature deterioration and death.
Scientists hypothesized that prolonged COVID could be caused by this mitochondrial damage. One of the main symptoms of this chronic form of COVID-19 is fatigue. This could be due to damaged or dying cellular mitochondria, leading to a lack of energy at our body's most important level.
Mitochondrial damage in different cells can also lead to different symptoms. When the mitochondrial function of the lung cells is impaired, the ability of the alveoli to expand and contract is weakened, oxygen uptake becomes impaired, and the body's metabolism is also reduced. It also makes you more prone to fatigue.
Damage to the cardiovascular system and blood clots
The heart's cardiac and myocardial system contains a very important cell type: pericardial cells, which lie outside the endothelial cells of blood vessels and normally associate with endothelial cells to help blood vessels transmit various signals.
A study published in Clinical Science found that when the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the body, spike proteins bind to CD147 receptors on the surface of pericardial cells, making them more likely to be eliminated by the body. This will impair some of the endothelial cell functions and accelerate the death of vessel wall cells.
Furthermore, the spike proteins themselves can directly stimulate pericardial cells to produce more pro-inflammatory factors that can damage the myocardium and cause blood clots.
Spike proteins can also trigger thrombosis, in which blood clots block veins. Another experiment, published in the BioRxiv preprint repository, looked at how platelets would change after being stimulated by spike proteins.
The experiment compared the spike protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus with another viral protein called VSV (vesicular stomatitis virus) and found that more platelets were stimulated to clot in the presence of the spike proteins.
Spike proteins impair immunity
When the human body is infected with a coronavirus such as COVID-19, the immune system recognizes the spike protein as an invader, and both the innate and acquired immune systems begin to function. Cytokines are released to signal the area to defend itself. In summary, the effect of spike proteins on the immune system is far-reaching. This is also shown by an article published in the journal Leukemia.
For example, there are 11 types of toll-like receptors in the innate immune system, and the seventh type of these toll-like receptors can recognize single-stranded virus RNA. The mRNA (messenger RNA) that enters the body after infection or vaccination with COVID-19 is also single-stranded, and immune cells recognize and attack the virus's RNA. In the presence of spike proteins, Toll-like receptor expression can increase in response to viral attack, and complementary immune cells can release more interferons in response to different virus variants.
When viral spike protein levels in the body are too high, they can overactivate interferon expression, which can even cause the body's immune system to attack its own cells.
Do vaccinia spike proteins remain in the body?
As we know, COVID-19 vaccines are built on a viral spike protein expression mechanism that activates our immune system to respond to the virus. But the question remains: How long do spike proteins from vaccines stay in the body?
Spike proteins are divided into two parts: S1 and S2, with S1 remaining in the blood and S2 bound to cell membranes.
A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that S1 proteins appear shortly after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in humans and that some people still have intact spike proteins two weeks after the first dose of the vaccine.
The discovery that intact spike proteins were still present in people two weeks after vaccination exceeded expectations.
Another study published in the Journal of Immunology found that S2 proteins could still be detected four months after the second dose of Pfizer's vaccine.
However, the damage of spike proteins depends on their quantity. All of the above side effects are based on in vitro studies and animal models, and relatively severe damage only occurred when the amount of spike proteins was large.
If the vaccine's viral mRNA is found in small amounts in the muscles and does not reach the blood and organs in large amounts, these serious side effects do not occur. This means that eliminating these spike proteins can limit their possible negative effects on the body.
How to remove spike proteins from the body
If someone develops COVID-19 Long syndrome after infection or vaccination, they may be wondering what medications can be used to expel the spike proteins and alleviate their symptoms. TheWorld Health Council(WCH) has issued several nutritional and drug recommendations.
1. Nutrients that may help improve symptoms include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Omega 3
These are all beneficial nutrients for the immune system that help the body eliminate spike proteins.
2. Common drugs used to improve symptoms:
- mast cell stabilizers
3. Plant extracts
Some plant extracts found in nature can also aid in detoxification of the body, including:
- self-healing extract
- pine needle extract
- Dandelion Leaf Extract
- Rheum emodina
Some of these ingredients, like the shikimic acid found in pine needles, have antioxidant properties that can reduce oxidized free radicals in the body and have a detoxifying effect.
The drugs suggested above are not cures, but they can help boost the body's immunity and balance the body's immune mechanism, which is helpful in the overall fight against the virus.
It is important to emphasize that every situation is different. Therefore, talk to your doctor before taking any of the medications recommended by the WCH to ensure they are suitable.
World Health Council: A practical approach to staying healthy after vaccination against Covid-19
Epoch Health articles are provided for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individual medical advice. Consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. I have a question? Send us an email toHealthReporter@epochtimes.nyc
Dr. Juan Lin
Dr Xiaoxu Sean Lin is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Feitian College in Middletown, NY. Dr Lin is also a frequent analyst and commentator for Epoch Media Group, VOA and RFA. Lin is a veteran who served as a microbiologist in the US Army and is also a member of the Committee on Current Danger: China.
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