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Many doctors now blame the myriad of debilitating conditions reported after COVID-19 infections and vaccinations on the spike proteins present in both the virus and after vaccination. Emerging research has found spike proteins present in various organs, often implicated in inflammation and damage of the surrounding tissues.
Though there is research on the mechanisms of the spike proteins and hypotheses on how the proteins may interact with various aspects of the body, spike protein presence is difficult to test for.
This article aims to review the current limited research on spike protein accumulation both through infection and vaccine exposure, the places it can contact, and the pathologies it may lead to.
Spike proteins have often been detected in immune cells taken from people who have been infected. A number of immune cells will periodically sample the environment around them, and it would therefore not be unusual to find spike proteins present in immune cells during infection or after vaccination.
However, in a study led by Dr. Bruce Patterson, CEO and founder of IncellDx, a company that diagnoses long COVID using blood tests, of patients who suffered from long COVID for over 15 months, 73 percent of them still had spike proteins present in their immune cells. Meanwhile, 91 percent of patients with severe and acute COVID had spike proteins in their immune cells.
Another study evaluating organ tissues obtained through autopsy found spike proteins present in the immune cells of individuals who died from COVID-19. Some of these immune cells died and had signs that they were trying to remove or recycle cellular materials; these all suggest a general toxicity from the spike protein.
The lungs are a major site of injury following COVID-19 infection and are believed to be a highly susceptible organ.
Studies on autopsy samples from people who died several days or months following COVID-19 vaccination found strong spike protein presence in the lung cells of these individuals. The team led by German pathologist Dr. Arne Burkhardt found spike proteins in lung cells of a living person nine months after vaccination, with immune cells nearby, suggestive of possible immune action.
Studies on autopsy samples from people who have been infected found in the lungs severe inflammation, spike protein presence in cells, great immune presence, often accompanied with smaller areas for gas exchange, scarring, and thickening of the lung tissues.
Oral and Nasal Cavity
Positive COVID tests often swab the nasal or the oral cavities for viral RNA or viral particles. SARS-CoV-2 viruses have been detected in samples of nasal cells by swabbing the area.
An autopsy study on 18 patients who died after COVID-19 infection found spike proteins in their salivary glands. The authors found spike proteins from the virus in both the cells of the glands and the saliva. They also found spike protein presence with inflammation and immune cell presence, and swelling in the salivary glands and scarring, all indicative of possible spike protein induced damage.
Connective tissue comprises blood, bone, and fat. Spike proteins have been found across all three areas. A 2021 study found spike proteins following vaccination could remain in the blood for up to 30 days after vaccination. These spike protein therefore pose risks for endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, and also present as a risk of blood clots due to the spike protein’s capability to bind to blood clotting proteins.
Staining in people who died from COVID-19 also detected SARS-CoV-2 viral protein presence in the bone marrow.
A study on autopsy samples taken from the chest region of 47 people who died following COVID-19 infection found spike proteins distributed within fat cells; fat cells also regulate the body’s metabolism, and dysfunction of fat cells can lead to metabolic diseases including inflammation and diabetes.
Endothelial cells are abundant in the body, most particularly in the inner linings of blood vessels. They are also very vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 viral infection and spike protein interaction, since endothelial cells have many receptors that the spike protein can bind to, triggering immune attacks against the cells that line our blood vessels.
Studies on human blood vessel endothelial cells showed that exposure to spike protein caused inflammatory cells to stick to endothelial cells, indicative of an immune attack, and which may also lead to cell damage or even death from inflammation.
Burkhardt’s team on vaccinated individuals found strong spike protein presence in the endothelial cells that line the inner layers of blood vessels in the brain, heart, lungs, and spleen.
This would also be accompanied with an immune attack at the surrounding environment. The team found damaged blood vessels, especially in small capillaries surrounded by inflammatory immune cells, suggestive of spike protein induced injury. This puts all of the internal organs at risk, as all internal organs are supplied with blood vessels.
Though the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not able to cross into the brain through the blood-brain barrier, studies in mice showed that the spike protein by itself is able to cross it.
Studies on human neural cell cultures also found that the spike protein could enter the cells and cause dysfunction to protein clearance of the neurons and result in the neurons wasting away.
Burkhardt’s autopsy study on vaccinated individuals found spike proteins were found in the biopsies of many brain blood vessels. Spike proteins were also detected in the neurons, though at a lower rate.
The heart is prone to spike protein induced injuries. Myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscles, is a major adverse event following COVID-19 vaccination.
Burkhardt’s team found spike proteins in the heart muscles of deceased vaccinated individuals, with signs of inflammation and immune cell activity, possibly indicative of myocarditis.
However, spike proteins were also found in the coronary arteries, and in the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. These findings were all accompanied with immune cell presence and severe signs of inflammation and tissue damage, implying possible heart injury.
Another laboratory study showed that the spike protein by itself could cause heart damage. The human tissues cells were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the study found the spike protein from the virus could bind to cardiac pericytes. These are cells that support blood vessel cells and control the constriction and dilation of blood vessels. When spike protein attached to pericytes, pericytes became more motile and less supportive of the blood vessel cells. They also secreted pro-inflammatory molecules and chemicals that triggered blood vessel cells to die. These findings all suggest that cardiac damage can occur with spike protein presence alone.
An autopsy study on a man who passed away following COVID-19 infection found spike proteins present in his thyroid biopsies. The thyroid is responsible for the secretion of hormones. SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid proteins were also detected but were more sparse in their distribution. The presence of spike proteins also came with inflammation and cell damage, looking similar to thyroiditis, according to the study. Inflammation of the thyroid may affect thyroid function leading to dysfunction of the organ.
Thyroiditis has also been reported in people three to four days after COVID-19 vaccinations, with some researchers declaring the thyroiditis to be vaccine-induced.
A Chinese study found spike proteins in autopsy pancreas samples from people who died from COVID-19.
Spike proteins were found in two common pancreas cells–one that produces and secretes enzymes that break down food, while the other one produces and releases insulin to lower our blood sugar levels. The second type includes pancreatic beta cells, which are often implicated in metabolic diseases such as diabetes; the loss of beta cells lead to type 1 diabetes, while a failure to respond to insulin is a characteristic of type 2 diabetes.
In infected individuals, where spike proteins were present, their pancreatic tissues had signs of cellular damage. The membranes that contain pancreatic cells were damaged and the content inside of the cells were swollen and disintegrated. These cells also had less enzymes and insulin packaged for release, suggestive of possible decline in digestion and blood sugar regulation.
The authors found that the pancreatic beta cells especially had markers present that would normally be found in diabetes or other metabolic disease, which may indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 virus or its spike protein can contribute to metabolic dysfunctions.
Metabolic diseases have been associated with COVID-19 infections and vaccinations; the change in the markers of the pancreatic beta cells may be why many COVID patients have abnormal sugar levels, even if they have no underlying metabolic disease.
Spike proteins were detected in the liver in five recovered COVID patients. The patients had reported negative SARS-CoV-2 results for nine to 180 days, therefore suggestive of a recovery. There were also spike proteins present in the gallbladder.
Another autopsy study on 11 individuals who died after COVID infection found two who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; however, all had signs of fatty liver, and some also presented with scarring and inflammation, possible suggestion of liver damage from spike protein.
The kidney is responsible for filtering out the urine from the blood for excretion, and therefore, there are excessive filter and circulatory activities.
An autopsy study on 21 COVID patients detected 1 deceased who was positive for SARS-CoV-2 proteins in their kidney. Though the other patients did not test positive for the virus, all shared similar pathologies with dysfunction in circulation, with congestion in the vessels responsible for filtration, and signs of injury and widening of kidney compartments.
Another study detected spike proteins in urine in around 25 percent of urinary samples from hospitalized COVID patients. Since proteins are larger than other commonly excreted chemicals—such as urea and sodium ion—there are generally low amounts of proteins in the urine, with higher levels (proteinuria) being seen as a sign of kidney dysfunction. Proteinuria and nephrotic syndrome, both identified with excessive protein excretion in the urine and associated with dysfunctional kidney performance, have been documented during COVID infection and after vaccination.
In a study of five recovered COVID patients ranging from nine to 180 days after testing negative for the virus, the authors found spike protein and nucleocapsid protein in in the ileum (the end of the small intestines), appendix, colon, and hemorrhoids which are swollen veins in the anus and the lower rectum. Nearly three out of four adults will have hemorrhoids from time to time.
Another autopsy evaluation on 11 people who died after contracting COVID-19 found two individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 found spike proteins in gut tracts.
The adrenal glands are often targeted in bacterial and viral infections.
Two studies on autopsies from COVID patients found spike proteins localized in the adrenocortical areas of the patient. The presence of spike protein was also accompanied with inflammation of the adrenal glands, tissue death, blood clotting, and many other dysfunctions. Since adrenocortical cells are responsible for secreting hormones, damage to these regions are speculated to elevate risk of adrenal insufficiency in the future.
Further, a paper on COVID-19 vaccines also found that the vaccines favored the adrenal glands for spike protein production, with spike protein RNA and spike proteins found in adrenal tissues.
Burkhardt’s team found spike proteins in biopsies of the spleen from deceased vaccinated individuals; these spike proteins were present in the blood vessels of the spleen.
Another study evaluating spleen tissue obtained through autopsies from COVID-19 patients found spike proteins in spleen cells and immune cells present in the spleen. The authors found that infected individuals had greater signs of damage and tissue death in their spleen samples, suggestive of spike protein induced spleen injury.
Spike proteins were found during autopsy from three individuals who passed away from COVID-19, in the inner layer of the retina, inside retinal cells, and the blood vessels that supply the retina. COVID infections have been found to be associated with increased widening of blood vessels in the retina, leading to possible impairment in eyesight.
Skin and Eccrine Cells
At least two case studies have detected SARS-CoV-2 viruses in skin and sweat gland tissues after COVID-19 infection. These people are often have skin discoloration at the site of infection; laboratory examination of the skin tissue showed inflammation and reddening of the tissues infected.
Burkhadt’s team found spike proteins in deltoid muscles in deceased vaccinated individuals from an autopsy study; there were also immune cells at the site, suggestive of possible infection. They also found spike proteins in the lower leg muscle cells.
Reproduction abnormalities have been rarely reported following COVID-19 vaccinations, though changes in menstruations have been readily recorded in women who are vaccinated or even who came into contact with vaccinated individuals.
Nonetheless, an Italian in vitro study exposed cultured human granulosa and cumulus cells to SARS-CoV-2 virus at 24-, 48-, and 72-hour intervals. The authors found viral infection for all of the cultures. The virus infected the ovarian cells. Though, studies on COVID infections have shown that women are generally less affected by COVID-19 infections compared to men.
Testes seem to be especially targeted by SARS-CoV-2. A preprint study found the testes, the place of sperm production, is a reservoir for viral replication. This may pose risk for sperm production for the individual.
A Chinese study found spike proteins in the testes of five people who died after contracting COVID-19. The tissues affected are responsible for spermatogenesis and had signs of inflammation, damage, and degeneration. These findings correlate testes damage and potential impairment of spermatogenesis with spike protein presence.
Studies have detected the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its viral RNA in the sperm following infections. These are often associated with reduced sperm count and motility, suggesting that the infection impairs spermatogenesis. Studies on vaccinated individuals also had similar findings, all of which suggest that the spike protein by itself may be able to impair sperm production.
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