ASIA syndrome - the theory that adjuvants in vaccines cause autoimmunity

A fairly popular segment of the scientific literature revolves around the ASIA syndrome - Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants. A bit of it is a personality cult surrounding Yehuda Shoenfeld, which has spawned the term “Shoenfeld’s syndrome”.

Unfortunately, the people pushing this theory are quick to throw patients under the bus when the patients are politically or financially inconvenient.

The theory

The idea is that various adjuvants are responsible for causing autoimmune disease.

  • Silicone in breast implants → breast implant illness
  • Specific adjuvants in vaccines: aluminium salts, squalene, pristane
  • For mRNA vaccines, Schoenfeld et al. think that TLR7/8 agonists (the mRNA) and TLR9 agonists (cpg DNA) are the problematic adjuvants
  • Multiple vaccinations → Gulf War Illness (theory)

For a deeper dive, see Shoenfeld’s and Agmon-Levin’s review paper. Autoimmune post-COVID vaccine syndromes: does the spectrum of autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome expand? | Clinical Rheumatology

Competing theories

For Breast Implant Illness, Lee and colleagues believe that fungi and bacteria growing on the implants are responsible for autoimmunity developing. The Long Haul Wiki page on foreign object infections has a little more detail on that.

There are other theories about BII that don’t involve autoimmunity. e.g. the problems are caused by heavy metals coming out of the implants.

For mRNA vaccines, there are various components that act as adjuvants such as the LNPs. The ssRNA in the vaccines are intentionally modified with N1-methyl-pseudouridiines so that they have much less of an adjuvant effect. See my video as it explains the theoretical adjuvants in the mRNA vaccines.

Shoenfeld is pro-vax… because science isn’t immune from politic$

He built his entire career on pointing out that adjuvants in vaccines lead to autoimmunity. Maybe that hasn’t been great for getting research funding, so he says stuff like (2011):

Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine and are commonly and safely inoculated to human and animals worldwide.

His 2022 paper on post-vax autoimmunity really whitewashes everything. The paper by Jara and colleagues (Shoenfeld is the corresponding author) claims that vax injury is easy peasy to treat:

Fortunately, most of these autoimmune syndromes are easily controlled with steroids and other immunomodulatory medications and are short-lived.

And I forget the paper where he recommends exercise for Long COVID patients.

Qustionable treatment advice

While many people do have good experiences with corticosteroids, they come with a high level of risk. Some people have horrible experiences with them.

They also don’t deal with the root cause so they don’t help people recover.

Schoenfeld is crazy when he says things like “most of these autoimmune syndromes are easily controlled with steroids”. That’s just not true.
→ It’s also not true that the side effects of vaccines are “short-lived”.

He also recommends giving COVID vaccines to people with autoimmune disease even though they can flare after vaccination.

Hot take

The real takeaway is that scientists and doctors respond to political pressure. Schoenfeld’s career was built on recognizing the problems that vaccines cause. Yet he will whitewash everything and put out questionable treatment advice when it is politically and financially convenient to do so.

This is how science and medicine works. It’s frustrating that patients can’t simply get good healthcare.

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