Myocarditis might not be linked to COVID-19 vaccine: Yale study

Amid a swirling discussion about COVID-19 vaccines and the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis, Yale researchers found the heart conditions could be tied to a person's immune system rather than a COVID-19 shot. 

The study analyzed 23 patients between the ages of 13 and 21 who developed vaccine-associated myocarditis and/or pericarditis, which is swelling of the heart and inflammation of tissue around the heart, respectively. Science published the study May 5. 

Twenty-one researchers from New Haven, Conn.-based Yale University School of Medicine and two from New York City-based Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai led the study. In it, they found T-cells that entered cardiac tissue showed "antigen-independent, cytokine-dependent activation after vaccination."

The authors said they observed "susceptible individuals may experience a heightened cytokine-driven immune response to vaccination and, particularly, shortly after the second dose, consequently activating immune effectors and provoking heart inflammation." They added their findings "likely rule out" concerns about whether vaccines induced the rare cardiac events. 

They concluded more research is needed to understand if this is because of virtual memory responses, epigenetic reprogramming of effector subsets or innate immune memory.


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