COVID-19 vaccine was detected in patients who died within a month of vaccination, according to a new study.
U.S. researchers analyzed tissue samples from the autopsies of 25 people, including 20 who were vaccinated.
Samples from the hearts of three patients, all of whom died within 30 days of a Pfizer shot, tested positive for messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA).
Eight bilateral axillary lymph node samples, from people who died within 30 days of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, also tested positive. The companies’ shots utilize mRNA.
The research shows “the vaccine can persist for up to 30 days, including in the heart,” Dr. James Stone, with the departments of pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
The study was published by npj Vaccines. Authors declared no conflicts of interest. They said the research was supported by Massachusetts General Hospital, which is in Boston.
In testing of heart and bilateral axillary lymph node tissues from other vaccinated people who died, no vaccine was detected.
Additionally, no vaccine was detected in the liver, spleen, or mediastinal lymph nodes—vaccine was detected in the liver and spleen in preclinical rodent studies before—nor was any detected in tissues from the unvaccinated patients.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are known to cause myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation that can result in death.
The people who had mRNA detected in the heart did not have myocarditis, though they did have detectable heart injuries, researchers found.
The researchers said they believed the heart injuries stemmed from underlying diseases and not the vaccines.
“There is no indication as yet that the vaccine in the heart is causing any problems in these patients; neither the causes of death nor the causes of the myocardial injury were linked to the vaccines in that study,” said Dr. Stone, one of the authors of the paper.
That position was challenged by Dr. Clare Craig, a British pathologist who reviewed the research.
“The vaccine should not have been there. There was evidence of heart damage. Those three people are now dead,” Dr. Craig told The Epoch Times in a message.
She said the researchers were setting too high of a bar for causality.
“At postmortem if there is significant narrowing of the coronary arteries then heart damage is attributed to it on the balance of probabilities. Here this is a clear cut association, an unusual picture of myocardial injury, and a failure to call it out for what it is,” Dr. Craig said.
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The tissues were collected from autopsies performed between January 2021 and February 2022 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Researchers excluded tissues from some dead people, including from patients who had no clear history of vaccination or non-vaccination and those who had a documented prior COVID-19 infection.
The researchers wanted to test the tissue for vaccine in light of research that has found both spike protein and mRNA persisting in axillary lymph nodes and blood for weeks or even months after vaccination. The testing would help “gain a better understanding of the biodistribution and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines,” they said. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
Researchers ended up with tissues from 20 vaccinated patients, including six who received one dose, 12 who received two doses, and two who received three doses. They also formed a control group of five unvaccinated patients.
Six bilateral axillary lymph node samples were available for people vaccinated with Moderna’s shot. Two tested positive for the vaccine. Thirteen were available for people vaccinated with Pfizer’s shot. Six tested positive for the vaccine.
Overall, of the 11 bilateral axillary lymph node samples from patients who died within 30 days of a shot, eight tested positive. None of the samples from patients who died beyond 30 days of vaccination tested positive.
Researchers also examined samples from each of the vaccinated people from the cardiac left ventricle and cardiac right ventricle. Of those, four samples tested positive across three patients. These were the three who received Pfizer’s shot within 30 days of dying. The samples also tested negative for COVID-19.
Vaccine was not detected in any of the unvaccinated people.
The vaccinated patients were on average older, with a mean age of 64 compared to 57. A higher percentage—55 percent to 20 percent—had recent heart injury.