Autoimmune damage to the nerves following Covid vaccines: EMA issued warning to patients and healthcare professionals

Hamid Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


EMA recently investigated the cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) following Covid vaccines and have issued a warning to raise awareness of healthcare professionals and the public about GBS cases following Covid vaccinations and recommended revising the product information for Covid vaccine AZ. MHRA in the UK and US FDA have issued similar warnings for Covid vaccines AZ and Janssen (J&J), respectively. GBS is a rare but serious condition in which the immune system starts attacking body’s healthy nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system that can result in pain, numbness and muscle weakness. EMA has advised people to seek immediate medical attention if they develop weakness and paralysis in the extremities progressing to the chest and face following the Covid vaccine. The EMA could not find enough evidence to confirm the association of GBS with the vaccine, however, this article proposes the potential mechanism arguing how GBS can be explained by the vaccine biodistribution to the nerves following intramuscular injection that may spur an immune response against nerve cells potentially resulting in autoimmune nerve damage. Most of the adult population in the United Kingdom and other countries are already vaccinated, therefore, early recognition of post-vaccine autoimmune conditions like GBS may help in offering early therapeutic interventions to those who are potentially affected by the condition. Like any autoimmune condition, early therapeutic intervention in GBS is the key to prevent disease progression and chronic illness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbmj.n1786/rr-0
Number of pages1
JournalThe BMJ
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2021


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