- A new experimental “vaccine” for celiac disease is ready to be tested in a clinical trial.
- The “vaccine”, which is type of immunotherapy, is said to work like allergy shots.
- Allergy shots currently on the market have side effects and contain ingredients such as aluminum and phenol, which can be toxic for humans.
An experimental “vaccine” for celiac disease is ready to be tested in a human clinical trial to determine whether it can effectively treat those suffering with the debilitating disease.1 Celiac disease is a serious inflammatory autoimmune disorder triggered in susceptible individuals when they consume a protein known as gluten. Gluten is found in grains such a wheat, rye and barley.2
Celiac disease occurs when the body’s T cells, a type of immune cell responsible for identifying invaders, misidentify gluten as dangerous.3 This inflammatory immune response damages a part of the small intestine known as the villi, thus making it impossible for the body to absorb nutrients from food into the blood stream.2 Consequently, this results in a slew of symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, joint pain, nausea, fatigue, migraine, anemia, malnourishment and weight loss, delayed growth in children, etc.2
Celiac Disease: An Autoimmune Disorder, Not An Allergy
It is important to note that celiac disease is not an allergy to gluten but rather an autoimmune disorder.3 Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to a substance causing a release of histamines, which then results in allergy related symptoms3 On the other hand, autoimmune disorders occur when the body misidentifies a substance as dangerous causing the immune system to attack the body’s tissue.3
Celiac disease is a growing epidemic in the United States. One percent of the population has celiac disease, which is equivalent to 1 out of 100 people.2 According to Beyond Celiac, 83 percent of the 3 million Americans living with celiac disease have either never been diagnosed or are misdiagnosed.2 Currently, there is no treatment available for patients with celiac disease other than following a strict gluten-free diet.2
The Cause of Celiac Disease is Unknown
It is unclear what actually causes celiac disease. Researchers believe that there are multiple factors that increase one’s risk of developing celiac disease.4 These factors include genetics and environmental factors such as diet.4
Genetics are believed to increase the risk of celiac disease, especially if a person has one or both of the HLA-DQ2 and DQ3 genes.5 These genes are present in about 25 to 30 percent of the population; however, the presence of these genes does not necessarily mean you have celiac disease or will develop celiac disease in the future.5 In fact, there are celiac disease patients who do not have the HLS-DQ2 and DQ3 genes; therefore, genetics is not the only factor at play.4
Environmental factors may contribute to the developing celiac disease; however, researchers are unable to pinpoint exactly which environmental factors may increase the risk.4 Some people consume gluten without a problem for decades and then suddenly develop celiac disease, while others (children) may develop the disease as soon as gluten is introduced into their diets. The reasons for why some people develop celiac disease and cannot eat gluten-containing food without suffering serious health consequences remain unknown.4
New “Vaccine” Expected to Work Similar to Allergy Shots
A new “vaccine,” Nexvax2, has been developed by a biotechnology company, ImmusanT Inc., and is essentially a type of immunotherapy. The vaccine has been designed to “reprogram” the immune systems of people diagnosed with celiac disease so they can tolerate consumption of gluten.1 The principle of the “vaccine” is similar to that of allergy shots. According to an article in Live Science:
Nexvax2 works in a way that’s similar to allergy shots. The treatment—which consists of twice-weekly injections administered over a 16-week period — is made up of molecules called peptides, which elicit an immune response in patients with celiac disease. In theory, exposure to the peptides over time could help reprogram immune cells called T cells to become tolerant of gluten and no longer trigger an immune response to the substance, according to ImmusanT. This could allow patients with celiac disease to eat a diet that includes gluten.1
The “vaccine” is not intended for everyone with celiac disease but only for those who carry the HLA-DQ2 gene.1
What is Known About Allergy Shots
Since an experimental “vaccine” for celiac disease is designed to mimic allergy shots, what is known about allergy shots that are currently on the market?
In an article in The Vaccine Reaction last year regarding the risks associated with allergy shots, Marco Cáceres wrote:
As with vaccinations, there are side-effects associated with allergy shots… So, what could be causing these reactions to allergy shots? As with vaccines, it’s hard to tell. But, as with vaccines, a good place to start would be to look at the ingredients in allergy shots starting with the allergen(s).6
Cáceres cited some ingredients found in allergy shots, including phenol, carbolic acid and aluminum, which can be toxic for humans. He said, “Allergy shots can contain aluminum as an adjuvant. Same as with vaccines, only perhaps much more aluminum per shot and cumulatively, given that allergy shots are given more frequently (often weekly or monthly) than vaccines.”6
Currently, there is no information available on the ingredients used in the new “vaccine” for celiac disease that will be tested on humans in clinical trials. Once this information becomes available to the public along with results from the clinical trial, a more informed assessment of the safety of the celiac disease “vaccine” can made.
1 Rettner R. How Does The Experimental “Vaccine” for Celiac Disease Work? LiveScience.com Nov. 9, 2018.
2 Beyond Celiac. What is Celiac Disease? BeyondCeliac.org.
3 Chodosh S. This Vaccine Could Help People with Celiac Eat Gluten Again, But It’s Not For Everyone. PopSci.com Nov. 8, 2018.
4 Anderson J. What Causes Celiac Disease? VeryWellHealth.com Sept. 14, 2018.
5 Mercola J. What Are The Causes of Celiac Disease? Mercola.com.
6 Cáceres M. Allergy Shots Are Vaccines? The Vaccine Reaction July 11, 2017.