Guillain-Barré syndrome

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) occurs when the immune system attacks part of the nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Below are COVID news and research updates that specifically relate to GBS.

How COVID-19 Triggers an Autoimmune Reaction

Researchers have hypothesized how a Covid-19 infection may trigger the development of autoimmune diseases through three different mechanisms, which may intersect at different points of the inflammatory process. Various autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, as well as Hashimoto’s and Graves disease.

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Occurrence of Autoimmune Diseases following COVID-19

COVID-19 and autoimmune disease share some similarities regarding molecular mechanisms of diseases. The authors of a paper published in November 2022 suggest that drugs used to treat autoimmune patients can serve as a potential treatment for COVID-19 patients.

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Can a COVID Infection Trigger GBS?

Cases of GBS have been verified by the FDA as a rare side effect to certain vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. GBS has also been known to develop after certain respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infections and may be triggered by a COVID-19 infection. 

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Can GBS Return Following COVID Vaccination?

A research letter, published in JAMA Network last week, studied the rate of recurrent Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) following vaccination with the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and found the risk to be extremely low. This retrospective cohort study utilized medical data from the second largest health maintenance organization in Israel

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