The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine appears to increase the risk of the serious neurological condition Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) with the jab’s Trojan horse delivery system possibly to blame, scientists believe, in a discovery which may apply to similar vaccines.
GBS is a rare condition which causes muscle numbness and pain, and can hinder movement, walking, swallowing and, sometimes, even breathing.
Scientists at University College London (UCL) have found a rise in cases of GBS in the first two to four weeks after the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, but not in other vaccines, such as Pfizer or Moderna.
Like many vaccines, the Oxford jab uses a weakened chimp adenovirus to deliver the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into the body, and scientists have speculated that a reaction to adenovirus may be responsible for the rise in cases.
Lead author Prof Michael Lunn said: “At the moment we don’t know why a vaccine may cause these very small rises in GBS.
“It may be that a non-specific immune activation in susceptible individuals occurs, but if that were the case similar risks might apply to all vaccine types.
“It is therefore logical to suggest that the simian adenovirus vector, often used to develop vaccines, including AstraZeneca’s, may account for the increased risk.”n