Shedding the Light on Post-Vaccine Myocarditis and Pericarditis in COVID-19 and Non-COVID-19 Vaccine Recipients

Vaccines (Basel). 2021 Oct 15;9(10):1186. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9101186.


Myocarditis and pericarditis have been linked recently to COVID-19 vaccines without exploring the underlying mechanisms, or compared to cardiac adverse events post-non-COVID-19 vaccines. We introduce an informatics approach to study post-vaccine adverse events on the systems biology level to aid the prioritization of effective preventive measures and mechanism-based pharmacotherapy by integrating the analysis of adverse event reports from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) with systems biology methods. Our results indicated that post-vaccine myocarditis and pericarditis were associated most frequently with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines followed by live or live-attenuated non-COVID-19 vaccines such as smallpox and anthrax vaccines. The frequencies of cardiac adverse events were affected by vaccine, vaccine type, vaccine dose, sex, and age of the vaccinated individuals. Systems biology results suggested a central role of interferon-gamma (INF-gamma) in the biological processes leading to cardiac adverse events, by impacting MAPK and JAK-STAT signaling pathways. We suggest that increasing the time interval between vaccine doses minimizes the risks of developing inflammatory adverse reactions. We also propose glucocorticoids as preferred treatments based on system biology evidence. Our informatics workflow provides an invaluable tool to study post-vaccine adverse events on the systems biology level to suggest effective mechanism-based pharmacotherapy and/or suitable preventive measures.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; VAERS; myocarditis; pericarditis; systems biology; vaccine.