BREAKING! Many Long COVID-19 Patients Have Higher Levels Of Circulating SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA Compared To Those With Acute Infection!
Long COVID-19 Research
: A new study by researchers from the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at University of Kansas-USA has revealed that many Long COVID-19 patients have higher levels of circulating SARS-CoV-2 Viral RNA compared to individuals with acute COVID-19 infection!
For a long time already, Thailand Medical News
has been warning that SARS-CoV-2 viral persistence is a serious issue and that in the whole pandemic, the method of affirming that a person has recovered from the COVID-19 disease by merely using a series of nasal swab or saliva tests on RT-PCR platforms or rapid antigen test kits that turn negative is simply ludicrous! Furthermore, the Spike proteins of the virus is simply toxic and dangerous and could still remain in the human host for a longer time and cause issues.
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the causative agent of COVID-19 disease has resulted in the death of about 6.46 million individuals according to official figures while unofficially, it is estimated that about 37 million people actually died from it so far not including excess death figures! Excess deaths rates are estimated to be high and in reality, many people are still experiencing damage to their bodies due to viral persistence without even being aware of it. We are witnessing many simply dying suddenly either due to heart failures, other organ failures, strokes, etc. Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) is becoming a common occurrence even in otherwise children teenagers and young adults.
Although much progress has been made to understand acute manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection, less is known about post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or what is commonly referred to as Long COVID.
The Long COVID Research
team investigated the levels of circulating SARS-CoV-2 components, Spike protein and viral RNA, in patients hospitalized with acute COVID-19 and in patients with and without PASC.
In hospitalized patients with acute COVID-19 (n=116), the study team observed a positive correlation of Spike protein with D-dimer, length of hospitalization, and peak WHO score while viral RNA correlated with a tissue injury marker, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH).
Alarmingly however, when comparing patients with post-COVID symptoms (n=33) and patients without (n=14), the study team found that Spike protein and viral RNA were more likely to be present in patients with PASC and in some cases at higher levels compared to acute COVID-19 patients.
The study findings also indicated that the percent positivity of circulating viral RNA increased in the PASC positive individuals compared to acute COVID-19 group while Spike protein positivity remained the same.
The study findings also indicated that part of the circulating Spike protein is linked to extracellular vesicles without any presence of viral RNA in these vesicles.
The study findings suggest that Spike protein and/or viral RNA fragments persist in the recovered COVID-19 patients with PASC, regardless of their presence or absence during the acute COVID-19 phase. Thes
e results may help in understanding the reason(s) for why patients experience PASC symptoms and may offer potential therapeutic targets.
The study findings were published on a preprint server by Lancet. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4186787
At present, the current definition of Long COVID or PASC is any new or continuous SARS-CoV-2 symptoms persisting after four weeks of acute infection and cannot be accounted for by any other underlying causes.
It should be noted that even if just a negligible percentage of patients develop PASC, the massive toll that acute infections have had and continue to have will impact the healthcare system and society worldwide in the coming years considering that almost half of the global population has already been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. With more SARS-CoV-2 variants continuously emerging, most with enhanced transmissibility, almost the whole global population will be exposed to the virus in coming months and many will continually be re-infected.
Hence it is critical to recognize those at high risk of developing PASC, comprehend the mechanisms underlying acute and post-acute COVID-19 illness pathogenesis, and look into potential therapy targets.
The study team investigated the concentrations of circulating SARS-CoV-2 components, spike (S) protein, and ribonucleic acid (RNA) in 151 hospitalized acute COVID-19 patients and those with and without Long COVID. The team explored if the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or S protein was connected to the severity of the acute illness and whether its retention was linked to Long COVID manifestations.
The study team compared symptomatic hospitalized SARS-CoV-2 patients according to World Health Organization (WHO) illness severity score. Based on patients' self-reported symptoms from either questionnaires or physician visits, they divided PASC patients into PASC-positive and PASC-negative groups.
The study team also analyzed whether extracellular vesicles (EVs) exhibited the SARS-CoV-2 S protein on their surface.
The research findings revealed that while SARS-CoV-2 RNA was linked with a tissue injury indicator, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), a positive correlation was present between S protein and the length of hospitalization, D-dimer, and peak WHO score in 16 hospitalized acute COVID-19 patients.
The study team discovered that the viral S protein and RNA were detected more frequently in patients with PASC while comparing 33 patients experiencing post-COVID symptoms and 14 subjects without PASC.
Shockingly, in many instances, the viral RNA and S proteins were at higher titers in PASC patients versus acute COVID-19 patients.
The study team further noted that while S protein positivity remained constant, the percent positivity of circulating SARS-CoV-2 RNA rose in the PASC-positive participants relative to the acute COVID-19 cohort. Additionally, they suggest that EVs without viral RNA were associated with a portion of the circulating S protein.
The study findings showed that acute COVID-19 patients have circulating SARS-CoV-2 S protein and RNA, which can last up to a year or more following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, and were linked to Long COVID.
The study data also indicates that higher titers of these SARS-CoV-2 elements in circulation were more probable in Long COVID patients versus non-Long COVID patients. In addition, viral RNA was elevated in individuals with PASC compared to acutely infected individuals.
The study team also documented that even in the lack of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the vesicles, circulating S protein can still be connected to EVs. These results imply that the persistence of viral RNA or S protein may play a role in the emergence of Long COVID or PASC.
The study findings show that SARS-CoV-2 S protein or RNA fragments, independent of their existence or absence during the acute COVID-19 stage, remain in the convalescent SARS-CoV-2 patients with PASC.
The study team suggest that Long COVID or PASC was linked to the prolonged circulation of these viral components, i.e., RNA and S protein, in some instances, which can happen over a year following acute infection.
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