Health & Wellbeing

What happened to the guy who had 217 COVID vaccinations

What happened to the guy who had 217 COVID vaccinations
Researchers studied a man who received 217 COVID vaccine doses
Researchers studied a man who received 217 COVID vaccine doses
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Researchers studied a man who received 217 COVID vaccine doses
Researchers studied a man who received 217 COVID vaccine doses

A man that police caught taking 217 doses of COVID vaccine has offered himself up to researchers for a study looking into what happens to the immune system after so many doses. The results offer surprising insight into these new mRNA vaccines.

In March 2022 a 62-year-old man in Germany was caught by police getting multiple COVID vaccine shots. It was suspected he had personally received more than 90 doses as a way of accumulating vaccination cards to sell to people that were avoiding the jab.

An investigation ultimately led to no criminal charges, however, a team of researchers from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg were fascinated by the case. What exactly did this many COVID vaccinations do to a human immune system?

“We learned about his case via newspaper articles,” said Kilian Schober, an author on the newly published case study. “We then contacted him and invited him to undergo various tests in Erlangen. He was very interested in doing so.”

In chronicling his case, the man claimed to have received 217 COVID vaccinations, of which more than half could be verified by clinical records. The vast majority were mRNA doses, with a small amount of AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Sanofi also in the mix. All the doses spanned a total period of 29 months but most were clustered in a nine-month stretch from mid-2021.

One of the key things the researchers set out to look at was whether the man was suffering from what has been informally referred to as ‘immune exhaustion'. As people around the world began to receive their third, fourth or fifth COVID vaccine dose, some researchers emerged to suggest hitting the immune system with the same antigen over short periods of time could actually be harmful. According to Schober, this idea comes from observations in patients suffering from chronic viral infections such as HIV.

“That may be the case in a chronic infection such as HIV or Hepatitis B, that has regular flare-ups,” noted Schober. “There is an indication that certain types of immune cells, known as T-cells, then become fatigued, leading to them releasing fewer pro-inflammatory messenger substances.”

So if this held true for multiple COVID vaccine doses then someone who received dozens of doses over a short period of time would surely display molecular signs of immune impairment. But it turns out, at least for this man, that was not the case.

Looking at blood work conducted both recently and over the last couple of years, the man showed extraordinarily high levels of antibodies and T-cells targeting SARS-CoV-2. Investigating more general T-cell responses to other antigens, the man’s immune cells were as effective as any of the control cells. This suggests his immune system was not fatigued or exhausted and could fight off pathogens as well as any average person.

Perhaps even more striking, the researchers report the man displayed no negative side effects from any of his multiple vaccine doses – even when he was receiving them daily for weeks on end. On top of that the man reported no history of ever being infected with SARS-CoV-2.

During the study, the man even received another COVID vaccine dose, at his insistence, in order to examine his acute immune response following all of his previous shots. He had an effective antibody response indicating the vaccine was still doing its job.

Schober is cautious to stress this doesn’t mean we should all go out and get extra vaccine doses whenever we want. This is just a single case study, and an incredibly strange one at that. But what this story does tell us is that COVID vaccines are generally pretty safe and it is unlikely issues of immune exhaustion will arise after just a handful of doses.

“The observation that no noticeable side effects were triggered in spite of this extraordinary hypervaccination indicates that the drugs have a good degree of tolerability,” said Schober. “Current research indicates that a three dose vaccination, coupled with regular top-up vaccines for vulnerable groups, remains the favored approach.”

The new study was published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Source: FAU

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