COVID-19 Warnings! SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Infection Could Activate Dormant Tuberculosis
: A new pre-print research finding that has yet to be peer reviewed, warns that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus could activate the dormant Tuberculosis bacteria in certain individuals. It was found that the novel coronavirus activates a stem cell-mediated defense mechanism that accelerates the activation of dormant tuberculosis in human host. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.06.077883v1.full.pdf+html
This study also echoes other previous studies that show that viral infections such as even influenza can activate the dormant TB present in many humans. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472979213000140
TB or Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that can spread through the air ie air-borne. It is most often found in the lungs but can exists in any organ of the body. However, many people are also infected with an inactive form of Tuberculosis known as latent TB. The bacillus that causes the disease is called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). Mycobacterium tuberculosis unique cell wall, which has a waxy coating primarily composed of mycolic acids, allows the bacillus to lie dormant for many years. The body’s immune system may restrain the disease, but it does not destroy it.
While some people with this latent infection will never develop active TB, 12 to 18 per cent of the carriers will ultimately become sick in their lifetime.
According to WHO, Tuberculosis (TB) is a global disease, found in every country in the world. It is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide. WHO estimates that 1.8 billion people, close to one quarter of the world's population are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis
), the bacteria that causes TB and it is mostly dormant. In 2018, about 10 million fell ill from TB and 1.5 million died according to them. It is considered the leading cause of infectious disease worldwide. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis
The new collaborative study by researchers from Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati, University of Massachusetts and Toronto Pediatric Hospital and a few private labs found that it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 corona virus infection causes inflammation that may also lead to reactivate dormant Mtb in the lungs. The researchers had been investigating TB dormancy in the adult stem cell niches in the bone marrow and also and in the areas of inflammation and had identified a rare fraction of cells ie the CD271+Bone Marrow-mesenchymal stem cells (CD271+BMMSCs) as the potential niche for dormant Mtb. In this stem cell niche, Mtb remains dormant, maintaining reactivation potential.
The researchers used a mouse corona virus strain called murine hepatitis virus strain-1 (MHV-1), that represents clinically relevant model of human infecting corona virus strain; SARS-CoV-2 MHV-1 causes acute lung inflammation by inducing acute respiratory infection (ARI) within 2-4 days in mouse models. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17041219
The team managed to demonstrate that MHV-1 infection activates an innate defense mechanism of ASCs (altruistic stem cells) that we previously identified in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) by enhancing Mtb reactivation. The results suggest that MHV-1 activates a niche defense mechanism in the stem cells harboring Mtb, which leads to a reduction in the viral load by inducing a mycobacterium load in the lung thus inducing reactivation.
The researchers warned that in the post COVID-19 era, there could be an increased number of TB infections.
Thailand Medical News also reports that there are also studies that support the notion that those with active of dormant TB have higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and progressing into severe or critical stages. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.10.20033795v1
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