Showing posts with label Long COVID-19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Long COVID-19. Show all posts

Friday, July 2, 2021

Viruses and Vaccines

The COVID-19 Back-to-normal study was initiated in January 2021 as an effort of a tight-​knit neighborhood to help each other avoid the virus and vaccinate safely.

Later the research protocol was approved by MEBO Research IRB and the study was open to other communities around the world. 

By now, we have over 600 participants. 

Early results of the study in MEBO/PATM community, based on the replies of the first 26 enrollees, showed that while reactions to vaccine were similar to the general population, experiences with COVID-19 infections were not - 2 individuals were not able to avoid the disease in this group, and both of them experienced long term effects. 

As of today, we have stories from 41 members of MEBO/PATM community and 6 different vaccines: AstraZeneca-Oxford, Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac and BBIBP-CorV, also known as the Sinopharm vaccine.

Currently, in various areas of the world, 19 COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use. Statistics on short-term effects of these vaccines have been published for different groups. If we compare our data to published data matching by ages and vaccines, short-term effects are very similar. Some of our sub-groups, especially healthy elderly participants, experienced far fewer side effects than reported in the literature. There were slightly fewer common adverse reactions in MEBO Pfizer group, but incidences of fatigue were on a higher side for all vaccines, and there were more reports of fever experienced after Moderna and Astrazeneca, albeit it was not significantly different from the general population. More significant differences were for less common and longer-term effects including fast heartbeat, dry mouth, skin reactions and swollen lymph nodes. The figure below shows common symptoms for Long COVID. Underlined are some of the issues reported after COVID vaccine uptakes in the group. Possible worsening of MEBO/PATM symptoms after vaccinations was reported by 10% of study participants. 

The most significant difference of MEBO group from the general population is the response to COVID-19 infection. 6 people (3 males, 3 females) out of 41 study participants experienced COVID-19 and all of them had long-term reactions. 5 out of 6 considered themselves long-haulers. The 6th person reported persistent MEBO/PATM issues  post-acute COVID-19. That's 80-100% of long-haulers, ~4 times more than researchers estimate! Our rate is closer to some groups with severe genetic conditions - such as individuals with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia  - predisposing to bad smell from nostrils. 

Postinfectious fatigue was the most commonly reported symptom in this group. Long-lasting loss of smell happened in ~16% - as in the general population. MEBO/PATM symptoms were significantly increased, unless well under control before the infection. There's anecdotal evidence, based on posts in social media, that some sufferers of chronic COVID-19 are experiencing more aversive underarm smell. 7% of long-haulers are thought to sense phantom distorted smells. Is it really imagined smells or could it be real change in their odor?

We also had reports of successful management of persistent COVID symptoms with a low histamine, gluten-free, dairy-free and no carb diets.

Why is MEBO/PATM community more susceptible to long COVID? A new study argues that long-haulers might actually be experiencing an attack of fatigue-inducing Epstein-Barr virus (EBV, a member of herpesvirus family HHV-4) that was lying dormant in their bodies.  For this study, Gold and his colleagues analyzed blood of 30 people with chronic COVID (out of 185 COVID survivors). 20 out of these 30 carried high levels of EBV antibodies. Vaccines were shown to reactivate viruses too, in much rarer cases. As was demonstrated for Pfizer vaccine that woke up another herpes virus, chickenpox herpes-zoster (HHV-3), that causes shingles when reactivated (this happened to 1% of patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases). Herpes simplex (HSV-1) can be also kept in remission by a healthy immune system and can be also reactivated by COVID-19.

MEBO and PATM symptoms could arise following an infection. Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 can reactivate the old viruses that caused these symptoms to begin with? 

Community immunity (also known as herd immunity) protects everyone. We hope that MEBO/PATM community stays COVID-free and safe. 


Gabashvili IS. Community-Based Phenotypic Study of Safety, Tolerability, Reactogenicity and Immunogenicity of Emergency-Use-Authorized Vaccines Against COVID-19 and Viral Shedding Potential of Post-Vaccination Infections: Protocol for a prospective study medRxiv 2021.06.28.21256779; doi:

McDonald I, Murray SM, Reynolds CJ, Altmann DM, Boyton RJ. Comparative systematic review and meta-analysis of reactogenicity, immunogenicity and efficacy of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. npj Vaccines. 2021 May 13;6(1):1-4.

Gold JE, Okyay RA, Licht WE, Hurley DJ. Investigation of Long COVID Prevalence and Its Relationship to Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation. Pathogens. 2021 Jun;10(6):763.

Monday, June 21, 2021

COVID-19 and vaccine reactogenicity in MEBO/PATM community

Infections have been shown to alter body odor and so have immunizations. So far, only nonhuman animals were able to detect the subtle changes in chemical makeup after vaccinations and even their sensitive noses were not able to differentiate between different vaccines - such as the rabies virus or the West Nile virus vaccines [Kimball et al, 2014]. However, this was the case of very mild reactions to immunization. Even slightly stronger inflammatory responses, to relatively weak immune challenges, can, indeed, be detected by human noses [Gordon et al, 2018]. Urine and axillary odor are becoming slightly more aversive in healthy humans, as a function of immune activation. But this is not supposed to last too long.

Our preliminary results, based on responses to the survey for 24 members of MEBO community and 6 of their family members show a wide variety of reactions to Astrazeneca, J&J, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac/Coronavac vaccines. 

Interestingly, Pfizer vaccine that caused no or very mild reactions in several MEBO participants, was also the vaccine that possibly caused temporary worsening of odor symptoms in one person in the community. Another MEBO participant that reported possible worsening of odor from Moderna vaccine had one thing in common with the other individual - they both had pre-existing conditions related to their upper digestive tract. Some Astrazeneca recipients also reported odor issues but did not think it was worse than usual. 

One of the most interesting observations was that even though only 2 members of MEBO/PATM community reported COVID-19 infection (before or between vaccinations), both of them had long COVID with long-term neurological manifestations such as fatigue, ENT symptoms and loss of smell.

Adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are influenced by a multitude of factors, many of which can be anticipated and alleviated. A certain level of inflammation is needed to trigger an effective adaptive immune response, but both environment and genetic makeup determine who is more likely to experience particular symptoms after infection and from the vaccine.

You can help by telling us about your experiences with COVID-19 and/or vaccinations. These surveys can be used for posting your brief stories - no need to answer all the questions. And you can always add to your story later. Please use your anonymous ID and let us know if you have any questions.


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We'll be posting more observations and comparisons with over 600 participants of our study from other communities. 


Blumental S, Debré P. Challenges and issues of anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Frontiers in Medicine. 2021;8.

Gordon AR, Kimball BA, Sorjonen K, Karshikoff B, Axelsson J, Lekander M, Lundström JN, Olsson MJ. Detection of inflammation via volatile cues in human urine. Chemical senses. 2018 Nov 1;43(9):711-9.

Kimball BA, Opiekun M, Yamazaki K, Beauchamp GK. Immunization alters body odor. Physiology & behavior. 2014 Apr 10;128:80-5.