COVID-19: Autoimmunity via Pathogenic Priming

A new study reveals insights into why doctors and researchers are cautioning against the reckless race for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Humans and the world we inhabit share much in common. Microbes are some of the smallest life forms, and without them, we could not survive.  When we are healthy, each of us is colonized with millions of microbes that are happy to protect us when we protect and feed them (with the right foods, exercise, avoiding things that harm them).

Humans and microbes, including viruses, have much in common, including proteins.

When we’re healthy, our immune systems effectively block or deal with potentially pathogenic viruses and bacteria, but when our our health is compromised,  our immune system’s reactions can get out of control, leading to severe disease. And when  a pathogenic microbe’s proteins match those of the host human, the reaction may trigger autoimmunity.

As Lyons-Weiler writes in the opening sentence of the study’s abstract,

“Homology between human and viral proteins is an established factor in viral- or vaccine-induced autoimmunity.”

There has never been a successful vaccine for SARS or MERS, two viruses related to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that can lead to COVID-19 disease.) Animal models revealed that although experimental SARS and MERS vaccines could create high amounts of antibodies, when challenged with exposure to the wild viruses they were supposed to be protected against, the animals instead developed severe, even lethal disease reactions.

Lyons-Weiler explains that those vaccine failures “involved pathogenesis consistent with an immunological priming that could involve autoimmunity in lung tissues due to previous exposure to the SARS and MERS spike protein” and so he examined the SARS-CoV-2 virus to see if it had a similar potential for what he terms “pathogenic priming.” His findings are alarming:

” . . . immunogenic epitopes in each SARS-CoV-2 protein were compared to human proteins in search of high local homologous matching. Only one immunogenic epitope in a SARS-CoV-2 had no homology to human proteins.”

This means there is a high potential for a rushed COVID-19 vaccine to lead to dangerous autoimmune reactions and severe disease when recipients encounter either the wild virus, a similar virus, or a subsequent dose of a vaccine. Several vaccine candidates have begun trials in humans before animal testing has been completed. Were the volunteers told? Did they give FULLY informed consent?

Study Highlights

➤All SARS-CoV-2 immunogenic epitopes have similarity to human proteins except one.

➤Roughly one-third of the human proteins are key players in the adaptive immune system.

➤The list of matches provides clues on which epitopes or parts of epitopes might be involved in the immunopathogenesis of COVID-19 disease from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

➤It also indicates which epitopes might be responsible for autoimmunological pathogenic priming due to prior infection or following exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or relatives following vaccination.

➤These epitopes should be excluded from vaccines under development to minimize autoimmunity due to risk of pathogenic priming.

James Lyons-Weiler, Pathogenic Priming Likely Contributes to Serious and Critical Illness and Mortality in COVID-19 via Autoimmunity, Journal of Translational Autoimmunity, 2020, 100051, ISSN 2589-9090,

Read the full study HERE: (