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TMN News Team  Aug 03, 2023  6 months, 2 weeks, 5 days, 2 hours, 38 minutes ago

BREAKING NEWS! Canadian Researcher Warns That COVID-19 Vaccination Can Cause Autoimmune Hepatitis In Some!

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BREAKING NEWS! Canadian Researcher Warns That COVID-19 Vaccination Can Cause Autoimmune Hepatitis In Some!
TMN News Team  Aug 03, 2023  6 months, 2 weeks, 5 days, 2 hours, 38 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tumultuous time for humanity, prompting global efforts to develop effective vaccines to combat the spread of the virus. Among the vaccines that have been deployed in tackling the pandemic are the mRNA-based vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech's BNT162b2 and Moderna's mRNA-1273. There have been reports of rare side effects involving these vaccines. In addition to myocarditis and thromboembolic events, a recent Canadian study led by Professor Dr Consolato M. Sergi from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, University of Ottawa-Canada and University of Alberta-Canada has raised concerns about a potential link between COVID-19 vaccination and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH).

Liver histology of a patient with confirmed autoimmune hepatitis, showing clinical laboratory values, autoantibody positivity, and histopathology, suggestive of autoimmune hepatitis (Masson’s trichrome stain showing an expansion of the portal tract with interface hepatitis, X200). The inset shows an infiltration of plasma cells. CD138, also known as syndecan-1 (SDC1), is a marker useful in histopathology. It is expressed in terminally differentiated plasma cells. CD138 is frequently utilized to highlight plasma cells either by immunohistochemistry or flow cytometry

Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) - Understanding the Disease
Autoimmune hepatitis is a liver inflammation characterized by autoimmunity to hepatocytes, leading to an increase in antinuclear antibodies (ANA). The condition is often associated with specific autoantibodies, such as antinuclear antibodies (ANA), smooth muscle antibodies (SMA), or anti-liver/anti-kidney microsome 1 (LKM1). The cause of AIH is not fully understood, but it is believed to have an infectious trigger in some cases, while in others, it remains idiopathic.
COVID-19 Vaccines
The mRNA-based vaccines represent a new untested approach to vaccination. Unlike traditional vaccines that use weakened or inactivated viruses to stimulate the immune system, mRNA vaccines deliver instructions to the body's cells to produce a viral protein. This prompts an immune response without causing infection. The development of mRNA vaccines has been accelerated to combat the urgent needs of the pandemic.
The Potential Link - AIH and COVID-19 Vaccination
As vaccination programs have rolled out globally, reports of adverse reactions have emerged. Notably, myocarditis and thromboembolic events have been observed following vaccination as reported in various studies and COVID-19 News reports.
In the Canadian study, researchers explored the potential link between COVID-19 vaccination and AIH. They identified 32 patients who developed an AIH-like syndrome after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, primarily Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. However, it is importa nt to note that these cases are exceedingly rare.
Understanding Autoimmune Reactions
Autoimmune reactions occur when the immune system attacks the body's own tissues, mistaking them for foreign invaders. In the context of vaccination, molecular mimicry and immune complex formation are among the mechanisms hypothesized to trigger autoimmune responses. The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 may share similarities with human proteins, leading to the production of antibodies that target both the virus and the host's tissues. It is also possible that certain molecular adjuvants in vaccines contribute to the activation of the immune system, leading to autoimmune reactions.
Raising Awareness and Enhancing Pharmacovigilance
Given the rarity of AIH following COVID-19 vaccination, there might be underreporting of such cases. Healthcare professionals and families should be vigilant for any signs of liver inflammation or autoimmune responses after vaccination. Proper pharmacovigilance is crucial to monitor and analyze potential side effects accurately. Large-scale, longitudinal studies are needed to validate the findings and determine the true incidence of AIH or AIH-like reactions following vaccination.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis
While the occurrence of AIH following vaccination remains extremely rare, it raises important questions about the cost-benefit relationship of vaccination, particularly in children and young adults. Balancing the potential risks with the claimed benefits of vaccination is essential.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the development and rapid deployment of vaccines have been instrumental in curbing the spread of the virus. While mRNA-based vaccines have been revolutionary, rare side effects, including myocarditis and AIH, have been reported. The Canadian study warning of a potential link between COVID-19 vaccination and AIH highlights the importance of pharmacovigilance and heightened awareness among healthcare professionals and the public.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Frontiers in Pharmacology.
More About Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH)
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic inflammatory liver disease characterized by the body's immune system mistakenly attacking its own liver cells, leading to liver inflammation and damage. It is considered an autoimmune disorder because the immune system, which is designed to protect the body from foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria, instead targets the liver as if it were a threat.
Key Features of Autoimmune Hepatitis
Types of AIH: There are two main types of autoimmune hepatitis - Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 AIH: This is the most common form and can occur at any age. It is often associated with the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and/or smooth muscle antibodies (SMA) in the blood.
Type 2 AIH: This form is less common and is typically diagnosed in children and young individuals. It is associated with the presence of liver/kidney microsomal type 1 (LKM-1) antibodies.
The exact cause of autoimmune hepatitis is not fully understood. However, it is believed that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers, such as viral infections or certain medications, may play a role in the development of the condition.
Clinical Presentation
AIH can present with a wide range of symptoms, which can be mild or severe. Common symptoms include fatigue, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal discomfort, itching, joint pain, and loss of appetite. In some cases, AIH may be asymptomatic and only detected during routine blood tests.
Laboratory Findings
Blood tests are essential for diagnosing AIH. Elevated liver enzymes, particularly alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), are typically observed. Increased levels of gamma globulins and immunoglobulin G (IgG) are also common.
Histological Features
A liver biopsy is often necessary to confirm the diagnosis of AIH. The characteristic histological features include interface hepatitis, which is inflammation at the junction between liver cells and the immune cells infiltrating the liver tissue.
Diagnosis: The diagnosis of AIH involves a combination of clinical features, laboratory tests, and liver biopsy findings. Other liver diseases and viral hepatitis must be ruled out during the diagnostic process.
The primary goal of treatment for AIH is to suppress the autoimmune response and reduce liver inflammation. This is achieved through immunosuppressive therapy, which typically involves corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) and other immunosuppressive medications (e.g., azathioprine). The treatment is usually lifelong, but the dosages may be adjusted over time based on the patient's response and disease activity.
With appropriate and timely treatment, the prognosis for most patients with AIH is favorable. However, if left untreated or inadequately managed, AIH can lead to liver cirrhosis and, in severe cases, liver failure, necessitating liver transplantation.
Autoimmune Overlap Syndromes
AIH can sometimes coexist with other autoimmune disorders, leading to autoimmune overlap syndromes. For example, patients with AIH may also have features of autoimmune thyroid disease, celiac disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.
In summary, autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic inflammatory liver disease characterized by the immune system's inappropriate attack on the liver. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial for managing the condition effectively and preventing long-term liver damage. Regular monitoring by a hepatologist is essential for patients with AIH to ensure the best possible outcomes.
More Details About AIH Symptoms
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) can present with a variety of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. In some cases, AIH may be asymptomatic and only detected during routine blood tests. The symptoms of AIH can be non-specific and may overlap with other liver diseases. Some common symptoms and features of AIH include:
-Fatigue: Feeling tired or exhausted even after adequate rest is a common complaint in individuals with AIH.
-Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) occurs when the liver is unable to process bilirubin properly, leading to its buildup in the body.
-Abdominal Discomfort: Some individuals may experience vague abdominal pain or discomfort in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, where the liver is located.
-Itching (Pruritus): Accumulation of bile salts in the bloodstream due to liver dysfunction can cause itching of the skin.
-Loss of Appetite: AIH can lead to a reduced desire to eat, which may result in unintended weight loss.
-Joint Pain: Some patients with AIH may experience joint pain or joint swelling, which is often related to the autoimmune nature of the disease.
-Nausea and Vomiting: Liver inflammation can cause nausea and vomiting, particularly in more severe cases.
-Enlarged Liver or Spleen: In some individuals, the liver and spleen may become enlarged due to inflammation.
-Spider Angiomas: These are small, red, spider-like blood vessels that may appear on the skin due to increased estrogen levels caused by impaired liver function.
-Ascites: In advanced cases, AIH can lead to the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, resulting in abdominal swelling (ascites).
-Dark Urine and Pale Stools: Bilirubin buildup can cause dark urine, while a lack of bile in the stool may result in pale-colored stools.
It is important to note that the severity and combination of symptoms can vary widely among individuals with AIH. Additionally, some patients may be asymptomatic, and AIH may only be detected during routine blood tests or when liver abnormalities are found during medical examinations.
If you experience any persistent or concerning symptoms, especially those related to liver function, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial for effectively managing AIH and preventing long-term liver damage. A hepatologist or gastroenterologist will typically conduct a thorough evaluation, including blood tests and possibly a liver biopsy, to confirm the diagnosis and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.
For more the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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