Virus Mimicking Antibodies May Explain Long Haul COVID-19, Rare Vaccine Side Effects - SciTechDaily
Nov 27, 2021 1 min, 39 secs
November 27, 2021.

In an article published on November 24, 2021, in The New England Journal of Medicine, the UC Davis Vice Chair of Research and Distinguished Professor of Dermatology and Internal Medicine William Murphy and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Dan Longo present a possible explanation to the diverse immune responses to the virus and the vaccines. .

Jerne’s hypothesis details a means for the immune system to regulate antibodies.

It describes a cascade in which the immune system initially launches protective antibody responses to an antigen (like a virus).

These same protective antibodies later can trigger a new antibody response toward themselves, leading to their disappearance over time. .

These secondary antibodies, called anti-idiotype antibodies, can bind to and deplete the initial protective antibody responses.

They have the potential to mirror or act like the original antigen itself.

The immune system responds by producing protective antibodies that bind to the invading virus, blocking or neutralizing its effects. .

As a form of down-regulation, these protective antibodies can also cause immune responses with anti-idiotype antibodies.

Over time, these anti-idiotype responses can clear the initial protective antibodies and potentially result in limited efficacy of antibody-based therapies. .

“A fascinating aspect of the newly formed anti-idiotype antibodies is that some of their structures can be a mirror image of the original antigen and act like it in binding to the same receptors that the viral antigen binds.

According to Murphy and Longo, current research studies on antibody responses to these vaccines mainly focus on the initial protective responses and virus-neutralizing efficacy, rather than other long-term aspects. 

This need follows to what it takes to keep the protective responses going, as well as to the potential unwanted side effects of both the infection and the different SARS-CoV-2 vaccine types, especially as boosting is now applied,” Murphy said

Reference: “A Possible Role for Anti-idiotype Antibodies in SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Vaccination” by William J

Longo, M.D., 24 November 2021, New England Journal of Medicine

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