SARS-CoV-2 may be acting as a superantigen that leads to the depletion of naive T and B-cells in individuals with Long COVID. Superantigens are implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases and could explain why autoimmunity is so prevalent in long haulers.
The authors suggest that vaccination is a solution to superantigens as vaccination would reduce the dose of superantigen that a patient receives. They use MIS-C as an example and make no mention of MIS-V, which is MIS (multisystem inflammatory syndrome) caused by vaccination.
The scientific literature on ‘superantigens’ is fairly extensive.
It has been posited SARS-CoV-2 contains at least one unique superantigen-like motif not found in any other SARS or endemic coronaviruses. Superantigens are potent antigens that can send the immune system into overdrive. SARS-CoV-2 causes many of the biological and clinical consequences of a superantigen, and, in the context of reinfection and waning immunity, it is important to better understand the impact of a widely circulating, airborne pathogen that may be a superantigen, superantigen-like or trigger a superantigenic host response. Urgent research is needed to better understand the long-term risks being taken by governments whose policies enable widespread transmission of a potential superantigenic pathogen, and to more clearly define the vaccination and public health policies needed to protect against the consequences of repeat exposure to the pathogen.