Pfizer vaccination can treat COVID-19 successfully

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Scientists from Cardiff University found doctors can successfully use vaccination to treat a patient with COVID-19.

It is thought to be the first instance of the vaccine being used for therapy instead of prevention.

Ian Lester, 37, a dispensing optician from Pontypridd who has a rare genetic immunodeficiency, tested positive for COVID-19 for seven and a half months after catching the virus.

The virus was finally cleared from his body after clinicians from the Immunodeficiency Centre for Wales used two doses of the Pfizer vaccine to treat him and scientists monitored his immune system’s response.

It suggests the vaccine successfully kick-started Mr. Lester’s immune system to clear the virus—and it is now hoped this approach could be used to treat other patients who are immune-compromised.

Mr. Lester has Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a rare condition that causes immunodeficiency, so he has a dampened response to infection.

When he caught COVID-19 in December 2020, Mr. Lester was unable to fight off the virus and it was repeatedly detected for at least 218 days.

This is different from long COVID where the effects of infection may remain even after the virus has been cleared.

During this time, he suffered fluctuating symptoms of chest tightness, insomnia, headaches, poor concentration, and extreme fatigue and had to self-isolate for large parts of this time.

Given the persistent positive PCR tests and impact on his health and mental health, the team decided on a unique therapeutic approach.

They wondered whether therapeutic vaccination could help in finally clearing the virus by inducing a strong immune response within the body.

The team administered two doses of the BioNTech Pfizer vaccine, one month apart, and very quickly saw a strong antibody response, much stronger than had been induced by the prolonged natural infection.

Researchers also saw a strong T-cell response—the arm of the immune system thought to be crucial to fighting off the virus.

They found SARS-CoV-2 clearance was finally confirmed 72 days after the first vaccination dose and 218 days since it was first detected.

This is the first time mRNA vaccination has been used to clear persistent COVID-19 infection. Importantly, the vaccine was well tolerated by the patient and successfully induced a strong antibody and T-cell response.

This was remarkable given Ian’s response to conventional vaccinations in the past has been extremely limited.

The team says scientists will need to reproduce this work to confirm the link and see if it can be used in other cases.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new antibody treatment for COVID-19, and COVID-19 vaccines need to be shored up with a plant-based diet.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about the key to suppressing COVID-19, and results showing green tea may protect your body as a vaccine.

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology and was conducted by Professor Stephen Jolles et al.

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