The Epstein-Barr virus, often known as EBV, is one of the most prevalent human viruses on the planet. It is typically transmitted by saliva. EBV can cause infectious mononucleosis, often known as mono, and other diseases. Most people will be infected with EBV at some point in their lives but will not show any symptoms. EBV-caused mono is more prevalent in teenagers and adults.
Mono Virus Might Be Fueling Long-Haul COVID
According to new research, some people who have COVID long-term symptoms may be undergoing an assault of the fatigue-inducing Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
According to the researchers, two-thirds of a sample of 30 COVID long-haul patients showed high levels of Epstein-Barr antibodies, indicating that EBV laying dormant in their systems had been awakened by their coronavirus infection.
While SARS-CoV-2 induces acute COVID-19 disease, the inflammatory consequences may lead to the involvement of other agents, specifically EBV, in the complex pathogenesis of disease-associated problems in the long run, according to the lead researcher Jeffrey Gold, president of World Organization, an environmental non-profit group.
According to the researchers’ background notes, more than 95 percent of adults have Epstein-Barr virus, which is a herpes virus. The virus is the most frequent cause of mononucleosis, a condition that also causes chronic exhaustion.
It’s simply there. It stays dormant in the body and may be triggered by anything that strains it, according to Dr. Adalja, who is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Baltimore. If they check at EBV viral loads in ICU patients, they’ll find that they’re high. Anyone in a stressful environment is at risk of Epstein-Barr virus reactivation or replication.
Adalja, however, cautioned that additional data is required to show the link, considering that EBV is common in people and maybe activated by physical or psychological stress.
Gold and his colleagues assessed 185 COVID patients for this study and discovered that around 30% were experiencing long-term symptoms.
Taking a deeper look at 30 of the long-term COVID patients, researchers discovered that 20 of them had EBV antibodies at levels high enough to imply Epstein-Barr reactivation.
The most prevalent symptoms described by these long-haul patients with elevated EBV antibody levels were weariness, sleeplessness, headaches, bodily pains, and disorientation. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, and skin rashes were among the other symptoms.
The researchers contended that COVID infection causes EBV to flare in some individuals, which is what causes their long-term symptoms.
According to research co-author David Hurley, a professor and molecular microbiologist at the University of Georgia, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness causes substantial local and systemic activation of inflammatory pathways. Local or systemic inflammatory activation has been shown to revive dormant herpesviruses, with EBV, in particular, being robustly reactivated from immunological and epithelial tissues by inflammatory stimuli.
More research with bigger patient populations is required before this can be considered anything more than a hypothesis, according to Adalja.
At this time, he would not consider anything to be conclusive. He stated that there are many more details to investigate.
According to Adalja, the study did not give enough evidence to claim that these individuals were experiencing Epstein-Barr reactivation potent enough to be the source of long-term symptoms.
They didn’t prove that since they were looking at antibodies, according to Adalja. They don’t do much with viral loads, and the little viral loads they report are in the hundreds, not thousands.
If it turns out to be accurate, it might provide doctors with new strategies to assist patients with long-term COVID, according to Hurley.
Testing for EBV reactivation early in the process would allow the doctor to use a range of medications targeted to decrease herpesvirus load in patients and reduce the degree and duration of the lengthy COVID illness, according to Hurley. Most patients might benefit from relatively low-cost screening, even if it only means that there is no evidence of EBV reactivation. EBV may be detected using simple, low-cost serum testing.