Viruses Reactivated After COVID-19 and Its Vaccine May Be Linked to Lymphopenia: Study

After a COVID-19 infection or inoculation with its vaccine, some people develop reactivated and recurrent infections, including herpes, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and even COVID-19.

spike protein

Some emerging studies are linking this phenomenon to lymphopenia, or low numbers of lymphocytes.
Lymphocytes are a large group of immune cells, including natural killer cells, that play significant roles in killing cancer and infected cells. The body's final line of defense, B and T cells, are also lymphocytes.

Persistent Lymphopenia

"Typically, with any infection, white blood cell count can go up or go down, and over time, it restores back to baseline," said internal medicine physician Dr. Keith Berkowitz. "But in this case, we are seeing persistent suppression long term, and I think it's a T-cell effect that's happening. "

Dr. Berkowitz has treated over 200 long-COVID and post-vaccine patients. He said that many of his patients tested as having low T-cell counts.

Typically, low immune cell counts after an infection or vaccination stabilize when patients undergo a subsequent infection. However, his patients continued to have low T-cell numbers despite an ensuing illness.

Persistent lymphopenia is a hallmark of immune deficiency, which can put people at risk of opportunistic infections, including reactivated viruses and bacterial infections such as UTIs.

Dr. Berkowitz said that several of his female patients with low T-cell counts also report persistent UTIs.

While UTIs tend to affect older women, he has found that younger, middle-aged women are similarly affected with persistent infections, suggesting potential immune deficiencies.

Studies have also reported that reactivated viral infections, including EBV and herpes, are common. It can be difficult to discern if patients' long-COVID and post-vaccine symptoms are due to the original COVID-19 infection, the vaccine, or the persistent viral infection, according to Dr. Berkowitz.
Common symptoms of UTIs include incontinence, needing to urinate more often than usual, pain while urinating, and other urinary irregularities. Psychiatrist Dr. Amanda McDonald, who has treated several hundred long-COVID and post-vaccine patients, previously told The Epoch Times that incontinence is a common problem among patients reporting post-vaccine symptoms.

Lymphopenia and COVID-19

It is uncertain why lymphopenia occurs after COVID-19 infection and its vaccines.

However, psychiatrist Dr. Adonis Sfera, who has published several studies on COVID-19, said that both the virus and its remnant spike protein may be able to bind to and kill lymphocytes, leading to lymphopenia.

The virus and its spike protein can bind to ACE-2, CD4, and CD8 receptors, all of which are present on the surfaces of T cells.

COVID-19 aside, lymphopenia is a common occurrence during and after infections such as HIV, influenza, and other bacterial infections. Vaccines, including the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, can cause a temporary lymphopenic state after injection.

Since lymphopenia can be a sign of the body still fighting an infection or its remnants, Dr. Sfera believes the persistent lymphopenia reported in long-COVID and post-vaccine patients suggests that the virus or its remnants are still lingering.

It is unknown how long the virus and its remnants can persist in the body. Research by pathologist Dr. Bruce Patterson has shown that in long-COVID patients, spike proteins can remain for up to 15 months in immune cells. Another study found that spike proteins from the vaccine can persist for six months.

Dr. Sfera said that COVID-19 and HIV are similar in that both seem to cause lymphopenia in T cells and activate human endogenous retroviruses, or HERVs.

HERVs are human genes believed to be inherited from viral infections, making up 8 percent of the human genome. While the presence of HERVs is not entirely malignant, HERVs activated during COVID-19 are linked with severe disease and lymphopenia.
Some studies have highlighted a possible preferential higher decrease of T helper cells rather than other T cells after COVID-19 infection.

T helper cells are among the lead cells in the immune system hierarchy. These cells regulate the behavior of other cells and notify other immune cells if they should continue to fight an infection or stop.

With a loss of T helper cells, the immune system can become hyperinflammatory and self-damaging. This may also explain the lymphopenic yet hyperinflammatory states that sometimes manifested in patients several days after the initial infection early in the pandemic.

"The helper T cells are the ones that mainly have to do with immune tolerance, just like with HIV," said Dr. Sfera.

Persistent lymphopenia, apart from leading to immune deficiency, also puts the body at risk of immune exhaustion.

In immune exhaustion, the immune cells stop responding to a virus or its remnants. Some studies hypothesize that this may be what is happening to long-COVID patients and people who get repeated vaccinations against the virus.

Lymphopenia Is Treatable

If an unresolved infection or disease leads to persistent lymphopenia, treating the condition causing the lymphopenia is usually the first step in returning lymphocyte counts to baseline. Reactivated and recurrent viruses also prolong the lymphopenic state, as the body is made to direct its attention toward fighting the infection.

Certain nutritional deficiencies, including zinc, folate, and cobalamin (vitamin B-12), can cause lymphopenia. High iron levels can also put a person at an increased risk of infection, which may exacerbate lymphopenia.

Many of Dr. Berkowitz's patients who have low T-cell numbers also have an overstressed nervous system. He found that once he calms down the nervous system using intravenous hydration therapy and supplements that encourage the body to rest, the immune system starts to recover by itself, with T-cell levels returning to normal.

N-acetylcysteine, a precursor to glutathione, an amino acid in the body, can also help regulate the immune system and encourage lymphocyte proliferation. Patients with severe lymphopenia may be treated with immunoglobulin shots to ensure some immunity. Injections with proteins that promote immune cell growth may also boost lymphocyte numbers.

Reposted from:


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