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Oncotarget: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, & vaccine side effects


Oncotarget published "Cell fusion as a link between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, COVID-19 complications, and vaccine side effects" which reported that "a distinctive feature of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is its ability to efficiently fuse cells, thus producing syncytia found in COVID-19 patients".

This commentary proposes how this ability enables spike to cause COVID-19 complications as well as side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, and suggests how these effects can be prevented.

Dr. Yuri Lazebnik from Lerna Consulting said, "A hallmark of severe COVID-19 is the abundance of syncytia, the products of fusion between two or more cells in the lungs of patients."

A hallmark of severe COVID-19 is the abundance of syncytia, the products of fusion between two or more cells in the lungs of patients

These syncytia have been attributed to the ability of spike, a protein encoded by SARS-CoV-2, to fuse cells to each other, and prompted a search for drugs that could prevent this cell fusion.

Recently, Braga and colleagues identified a set of already approved drugs that prevent spike-induced cell fusion and inhibit TMEM16F, a protein that has two activities .

One, a calcium-activated ion channel, regulates chloride secretion, while the other, a lipid scramblase, relocates phosphatidylserine to the cell surface in a process known as PS externalization.

Figure 3: The incidence of suspected vaccine complications recorded in the European database of suspected adverse drug reactions reports (EudraVigilance) [109] as of August 6, 2021. The numbers of doses administered by that date, and shown next to the bars. were taken from: https://vaccinetracker.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/vaccine-tracker.html#distribution-tab.

PS externalization is required for cell fusion in many systems, which explains why inhibiting a scramblase prevents the formation of spike-induced syncytia.

To evaluate this assumption let us consider how cell fusion and syncytia it produces might be involved in COVID-19.

The Lazebnik Research Team concluded in their Oncotarget Research Output, "this author hopes that the discovery of syncytia in COVID-19 patients will help to dissect cell fusion and its consequences, both in health and in disease, by making more researchers aware of this fascinating yet often overlooked process. After all, we tend to notice only what we expect to see."

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DOI - https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.28088

Correspondence to - Yuri Lazebnik - yuri@lernaconsulting.com

Keywords - cell fusion, thrombosis, neuropathy, cancer, vaccines

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