WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Some people with long-term symptoms of COVID may actually experience a fatigue-inducing Epstein-Barr virus attack (EBV), according to a new study.
Two-thirds of a group of 30 long-haul COVID patients had elevated levels of Epstein-Barr antibodies, suggesting that the EBV dormant in their bodies had been reactivated by their coronavirus infection, the researchers reported.
“While SARS-CoV-2 clearly causes acute COVID-19 disease, the inflammatory consequences thereof may lead to the participation of other agents, in particular EBV, in the complex pathogenesis of the problems associated with the disease on the long term, ”said lead researcher Jeffrey Gold, president of the World Organization, a nonprofit environmental group.
More than 95% of adults carry Epstein-Barr, which is a herpes virus, the researchers said in briefing notes. The virus is the most common cause of mononucleosis, a disease which also leaves its patients constantly exhausted.
“It’s right there. It stays latent in you, and anything that stresses your body can cause it,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. “If you look at the EBV viral loads in intensive care patients, they are going to be high. Anyone who is in a stressful situation, it is likely that [Epstein-Barr] would be reactivated or it would be replicating. “
However, Adalja added that more evidence is needed to prove the link, given that EBV is prevalent in humans and can be triggered by physical or psychological factors. stress.
For this study, Gold and his colleagues interviewed 185 COVID patients and found that about 30% suffered from long-term symptoms.
Taking a closer look at 30 of the long-distance COVID patients, the researchers found that 20 of them carried EBV antibody levels high enough to suggest Epstein-Barr reactivation.
These long-haul patients with elevated EBV antibody levels reported tired, insomnia, headache, muscle aches and confusion as the most common symptoms. Other symptoms included tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss and Rashes.
Researchers have argued that COVID infection causes an EBV flare in some patients, and this is what triggers their long-term symptoms.