Four men from Nottingham have developed a life threatening disease—the Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), days after receiving their first AstraZenecavaccine.
What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
This syndrome is a rare neurological disorder in which your immune system starts attacking the network of nerves that is located outside the brain and spinal cord. While some cases are extremely mild, with patients only feeling muscle weakness, others can lead to paralysis. In fact, one of the first symptoms of GBS is getting weakness and tingling in your extremities. Without proper treatment, these sensations can spread throughout the body leaving patients unable to move.
Other symptoms of the syndrome include numbness, pain, problems with balance and coordination, and pins and needles.
Link to AstraZeneca
The patients from Nottingham were between the ages of 20 and 57, and they started getting symptoms 11 to 22 days upon getting inoculated. None of the men had been infected with COVID previously, but three of them had underlying health conditions like asthma, high blood pressure and ulcerative colitis—which is a condition in which the colon and rectum gets inflamed. They were treated with antibodies and steroids.
Two separate studies revealed this probable link in the journal Annals of Neurology, but scientists are still examining if it was in fact the AstraZeneca jab that triggered its evolution or if it was purely coincidental. However, the disease is known as a particularly rare side effect of flu and HPV vaccines.
Dr. Christopher Allen, from Nottingham University, maintained that the current COVID vaccines are very safe, but there is a need for 'robust post-vaccination surveillance.' He said:
SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are very safe.
If the link is causal it could be due to a cross-reactive immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and components of the peripheral immune system.
The four men were not the only ones who got GBS after their AstraZeneca jab. Seven cases have been reported in India, of which three of the patients required mechanical ventilation, and an additional six cases were found in Australia as well.