Researchers speculate PEG compound behind allergic reactions to Covid-19 vaccine: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on December 27, 2020

After the cases of allergic reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine surfaced, researchers are trying to identify the compound that could be behind such reactions.

According to the scientists, the compound polyethylene glycol, also known as PEG may have caused allergic reactions. PEG is also found in other drugs and is known to trigger anaphylaxis on rare occasions.

This comes after the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported six severe allergic reactions to Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine.

According to the CDC’s official statement, out of 272,001 doses administered through December 19, at least two cases of anaphylaxis have reported in the United Kingdom.

Pfizer had also come with a statement saying that it “will closely monitor all reports suggestive of serious allergic reactions following vaccination.”

The company said its prescribing information incorporates a caution that “appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following the administration of the vaccine.”

“Although I think we’re just speculating here…it is known that one of the components that is present in both of the vaccines—polyethylene glycol—can be associated, uncommonly, with allergic reactions,” said Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, during a press conference, as cited in the WSJ report.

“What we’re learning now is that those allergic reactions could be somewhat more common than the highly uncommon that we thought they were because people do get exposed to polyethylene glycol in various pharmaceutical preparations,” he said.

He added that the FDA also plans to monitor the Moderna vaccine rollout “very closely” since both vaccines contain PEG.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have PEG as a part of the fatty envelope that surrounds the messenger RNA, the main ingredient in the vaccine.

According to scientists, allergies to PEG are the rarest of rare cases. This compound is also present in a varied range of products, including cosmetics, foods, and drugs. Some vaccines also contain PEG-like compounds.

Published on December 27, 2020

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