CAPE TOWN – Scientists have raised concerns that a chemical used in everyday products including waterproof clothing and pizza boxes could reduce the effects of a Coronavirus vaccine.
Although it is unknown if small amounts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals will impact the effectiveness of any Covid-19 vaccine, Philippe Grandjean, a contract professor of environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health says it could be a “risk”
“People with high exposure to PFAS have a non-protective and very low antibody levels after four vaccinations for diphtheria and tetanus. So if a vaccine for Covid is similar, the PFAS will likely inhibit the response from a vaccine. But it is unknown at this stage,” said Grandjean.
Research led by Grandjean found that children exposed to PFAS had significantly reduced antibody concentrations after given tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations. A follow-up study of adult healthcare workers found similar results.
In a separate yet-to-be-peer-reviewed research by Grandjean, it was found that certain types of PFAS accumulate in the lungs and can heighten the severity of illness suffered by people who are infected with Covid-19.
Meanwhile, US president-elect, Joe Biden, has promised to crack down on PFAS pollutants by classifying them as hazardous substances.
It is estimated more than 200 million Americans eat food and drink water laced with PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” as they linger long in the body, with hotspots found in areas around military bases where the chemicals are used in firefighting foam.
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