A brand new principle proposed by researchers exhibits how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, infects the physique. Their speculation, printed in Frontiers in Immunology, may clarify why some individuals nonetheless have signs lengthy after the preliminary an infection.
“We’ve put together different pieces of data to create a bigger picture that may explain what causes some people’s immune systems to go haywire, leading to post-acute syndromes, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and long COVID in children and adults,” stated Moshe Arditi, MD, govt vice chair of the Division of Pediatrics for Analysis, a part of Cedars-Sinai Guerin Youngsters’s, and senior creator of the paper.
‘MIS-C is a rare but dangerous condition in children that may occur weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2.’
Lengthy COVID-19sometimes called lengthy COVIDis a time period used to explain a constellation of well being issues that some individuals expertise because of their an infection with SARS-CoV-2. Signs can final months and even years.
SARS-CoV-2 is believed to latch on to cells through spikes that exist on the floor of the virus. These spike proteins are comprised of molecular motifs, stretches of amino acids that make a protein. These tiny molecular motifs might have what the scientists name “superantigen” traits, that means that the immune system can overreact to their presence.
COVID-19: Lengthy-term Results
The spike protein, in line with the authors, can also have neurotoxic motifs that may cross the blood-brain barrier and harm mind cells. This speculation may clarify the “brain fog” and different neurological signs related to COVID-19 and lengthy COVID.
The speculation relies on a number of printed research on COVID-19 and different illnesses attributable to viruses. One such research by Arditi and his longtime collaborator Ivet Bahar, PhD, was printed within the Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences in 2020. Bahar and Arditi created a pc mannequin exhibiting how molecular motifs on the spike protein work together with immune cells. The superantigen molecular motifs trigger the immune cells to launch an abundance of infection-fighting proteins often known as cytokines that battle the virus but in addition might mistakenly assault the physique’s organs. In kids, this may occasionally manifest as MIS-C.
Different research have reported that folks with lengthy COVID might carry fragments of the virus of their intestine or different elements of their our bodies months after preliminary an infection. Steady publicity to motifs that lodge themselves in numerous elements of the physique and have superantigen-like properties might trigger autoimmune signs in individuals with lengthy COVID and MIS-C, in line with the authors.
“We need to conduct more research to prove if this is indeed the mechanism that causes long COVID so that we can develop treatments to block it,” stated Magali Noval Rivas, PhD, an investigator at Cedars-Sinai and first creator of the paper.