The Autoimmune Hepatitis Association
This past year, a few cases have been reported of AIH developing and possible AIH flares after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Recently, investigators at Indiana University found significant liver injury after vaccine was rare (0.038%) in a group of 450,000 patients, but the study didn’t elaborate further.
In a new paper published in the scientific journal Hepatology, a group of researchers located around the world published their collective experiences of finding liver injury in 87 patients after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. The researchers reported that a little over half of these patients had lab findings that suggested an autoimmune-like pattern of injury, meaning these patients had autoantibodies found along with abnormal liver tests.
Among the 44 cases that inclued liver biopsies, 77% had pathology that looked like AIH. It’s also important to note that another 41 patients had injury but improved on their own and did not develop AIH.
What does this mean? To put this into perspective, liver injury after SARS-CoV-2 vaccine can occur (although very rarely). In very rare cases, liver injury that looks like AIH can develop, but vaccination may simply uncover AIH that existed prior to vaccination. Finally, vaccination may also rarely cause mild liver injury that improves on its own.
The authors of this paper were very clear that this data should not discourage SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. The AIHA stands with leading scientists that most AIH patients should receive the COVID-19 vaccines. As always, check with your doctor if you have any questions about whether you should be vaccinated.