Childhood hepatitis : two fanciful studies

Two scientific studies published on July 25, 2022 would rule out SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of the mysterious cases of hepatitis in children. They are refuted by Jean-Marc Sabatier*.

The gazettes have widely relayed these two studies published on Monday, July 25, 2022, according to which SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, would not be involved in the appearance of severe liver inflammation in young children.
It is known that a thousand cases have been reported in 35 countries since the spring of 2022, among which 22 deaths and numerous liver transplants have been reported.

The hypothesis of two associated viruses

Two recent studies, published (but not validated by the scientific community), one in Scotland and the other in England, hypothesize that the origin of these hepatitises is due to a common virus called AAV2 (adeno-associated virus 2), detected at high levels in sick children, a non-pathogenic DNA virus. However, this virus cannot act alone. It needs the complicity of another virus, an adenovirus, sometimes HHV6 (herpes virus) to act. According to these two studies, the two associated viruses would thus be at the origin of the inflammation of the liver in young children.

Several liver enzymes

For Jean-Marc Sabatier, the conclusions of these studies are erroneous. In an article published on May 20, 2022, he already established a direct link between Covid-19 and childhood hepatitis (See figure 3) while the WHO and the scientific community implicated another adenovirus, called AD-41.
The involvement of SARS-CoV-2 in childhood hepatitis was later confirmed by several studies cited, among others, by the journal Sciences et Avenir, but also by the Journal of paediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.
Other studies showed that Covid-19 can lead to an increase in the concentration of several liver enzymes in the blood, in particular alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), as well as bilirubin, as observed during hepatitis.
This observation has just been confirmed in children with hepatitis by researchers from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, USA) in a preprint published online on May 14, 2022 (not yet peer-reviewed).
They compared “a cohort of 245,000 children with Covid with a cohort of 550,000 children with other respiratory infections. After controlling for several risk factors, such as age, weight and ethnicity, they found that Covid patients had a higher risk of liver damage, with abnormally high levels of these enzymes (ALT and AST) as well as bilirubin, a pigment that accumulates during hepatitis and causes jaundice. This increased risk was present for up to six months after infection, which the authors say suggests acute and long-term liver sequelae in pediatric Covid-19 patients.”

A malfunction of the SRA

Jean-Marc Sabatier (DR)

Already in May 2022, Jean-Marc Sabatier specified that acute hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver so far caused by the infection of one of the 5 hepatitis viruses and sometimes by toxic substances. These viruses are designated by the letters A, B, C, D and E which give the disease the same name. These viruses differ by their mode of transmission which is feco-oral for the A and E viruses and parenteral (blood or mucous) for the B and C viruses. These viruses also differ in their dangerousness.
However, these viruses have not been detected in these children with acute hepatitis. Hence the mystery surrounding this disease. According to Jean-Marc Sabatier, these acute hepatitises correspond to a Covid-19 disease and are induced by an emerging variant or sub-variant of SARS-CoV-2 (Omicron, XD, XE or others). This suggests that there is a risk that with the new Omicron Spike-based vaccines, the same inflammatory liver phenomenon may occur in young children vaccinated with the new vaccines. It is notable that hepatitis (autoimmune hepatitis) is already appearing in the follow-up of adverse events with Covid-19 vaccines (mRNA vaccines).
According to Jean-Marc Sabatier, these acute hepatitises are the counterpart of what we observe for the heart with myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), pericarditis (inflammation of the protective tissue of the heart), conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye) and vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels).
These diseases of the Covid-19 are due to a dysfunction of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) which plays a key role in the functioning of the human body (and mammals in general).

What does the liver do?

These acute hepatitises occur in children because they have a very strong and reactive immune system, especially in terms of innate immunity. The latest emerging sub-variants of SARS-CoV-2 should promote liver inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory treatments are therefore recommended as well as a good supplementation of vitamin D, a negative regulator of RAS.
The liver fulfills three vital functions that are essential to our body: detoxification (elimination of toxins and waste produced by our body), metabolic synthesis (lipids, carbohydrates and proteins), energy storage (in the form of sugars) and vitamins (A, D, E, K).
In view of all these analyses, the conclusions of these two Scottish and British studies seem at this stage to be completely erroneous.

*Jean-Marc Sabatier is Director of Research at the CNRS and holds a doctorate in Cell Biology and Microbiology and an HDR in Biochemistry. Editor-in-Chief of the international scientific journals: “Coronaviruses” and “Infectious Disorders – Drug Targets”. He is speaking in his own name.