Vaccine for Inflammation in the Works


  • Scientists are working on a vaccine for autoimmune, inflammation-induced mental health issues using soil-derived bacteria.
  • Vaccines have been implicated in increasing the risk for neuropsychiatric issues in children.
  • Vaccines and all other immune-system activators act by provoking an inflammatory response.

Christopher Lowry, PhD and a team of researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder are working on a vaccine to prevent inflammation-induced mental illness.1 The scientists are working with Mycobacterium vaccae, bacteria found in soil that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in animal subjects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved human trials, but Dr. Lowry hopes to create a vaccine for inflammation-induced mental health issues.

A number of neuropsychiatric issues have been linked to vaccination. A pilot study by scientists from Yale University and Pennsylvania State University, for example, showed that children who had received a flu vaccine had an 80 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with an eating disorder within three months compared with non-vaccinated controls. The risk for a obsessive-compulsive disorder was 23 to 27 percent higher three to 12 months following vaccination.2

Vaccination Produces Inflammation by Its Nature

The idea of vaccinating against inflammation may meet with challenges, as vaccination depends on inducing an inflammatory reaction as its mechanism of action. As explained by nephrologist Suzanne Humphries, MD,

“A vaccine by definition, causes repeated, chronic inflammation at set time intervals. Vaccines are designed to create peripheral inflammation…”3

The inflammatory response itself is crucial to any immune response, whether a natural trigger such as an infectious agent, an antigenic challenge, a physical stressor or vaccination. It is inflammation that signals the arrival of operatives of the immune system into the area of infection or damage, as indicated by the five “cardinal signs” of inflammation: redness, heat, pain, swelling, and loss of function.4

It is when the normal, healthy inflammatory response does not recede once the threat has been neutralized that inflammation may become chronic, resulting in any of over 100 potential autoimmune disorders including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia to name just a few.5

Vaccination of patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) can be problematic. Typically, anti-inflammatory therapies not only blunt the inflammatory reaction necessary for a vaccine response but also increase the likelihood of patients developing infectious diseases.6 Some concern has also been expressed that vaccination itself could act as a trigger for autoimmune disorders.7

According to immunologist and diabetes researcher Barthelow Classen, MD, the inflammatory responses generated by repeated vaccinations can and do produce the chronic inflammation and immune system overload that can lead to some of the more prevalent autoimmune disorders seen in today’s children.8 He adds that most patients do not even realize that they are suffering from the adverse effects of vaccines.

“Chronic inflammation is a serious health problem in the U.S. and around the world and all potential root causes should be fully investigated, including vaccination,” noted journalist Rishma Parpia in a 2016 article in The Vaccine Reaction.9

To propose that an inflammation-mediated mental illness (or any inflammation-based disorder) could be prevented with a vaccine designed to stimulate further inflammation is certainly an interesting concept that merits careful study.


1 Kommers A-M. 5 Things To Know About A Potential Vaccine To Fight Mental Illness. Becker Hospital Review July 16, 2019.
2 McGovern C. Vaccination May Increase Risk of Rare Psychiatric Childhood Disorders, Study Finds. The Vaccine Reaction Feb. 13, 2017.
3 Humphries S. Vaccination.
4 Clem AS. Fundamentals of Vaccine Immunology. J Glob Infect Dis January-March 2011.
5 Autoimmune Disease List. American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association 2019.
6 Rahier J-F, et al. Vaccinations in Patients with Immune-mediated Inflammatory Diseases. Rheumatology 2010.
7 Hammoudi DA-S et al. Induction of Autoimmune Diseases Following Vaccinations: A Review. SM Vaccine Vaccin 2015; 1(3): 1011.
8 Classen JB. Review of Vaccine Induced Immune Overload and the Resulting Epidemics of Type 1 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, Emphasis on Explaining the Recent Accelerations in the Risk of Prediabetes and other Immune Mediated Diseases. Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine 2014; S1:-025.
9 Parpia R. Inflammation: The Good and the Bad. The Vaccine Reaction Mar. 23, 2016.


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