Another Cause of Long Covid?

Wow! The research is coming out fast and furious. I read somewhere someone saying they would be rich if they had a dollar for every time they saw "cause of Long Covid found"!

Still I am not going to knock it at least researchers are trying. But EVERY paper I have read says "more research needed" which translates into "going to take years for actual help to make it to actual Long Covid patients"

Here is this weeks gem from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences research team. Report by David Robinson and it ties in quite nicely with research in my post "Long Covid and M.E."

A UAMS research team has identified a potential cause of long-lasting symptoms experienced by COVID-19 patients, often referred to as long-haulers. The findings were published in the journal, The Public Library of Science ONE (PLOS ONE).

At the heart of the team’s findings is an antibody that shows up weeks after an initial infection and attacks and disrupts a key regulator of the immune system,

said lead researcher John Arthur, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Nephrology in the UAMS College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine.

As many as 30% of COVID-19 patients experience lingering fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath. The cause of long COVID-19 has eluded scientists, but the UAMS team’s discovery sheds important new light on the molecular-level mechanisms behind it.

“Everything that we’ve found is consistent with this antibody as the instigator of long COVID, so it’s an exciting development that merits further study,” Arthur said.

The antibody creates problems for the immune system by:

  • attacking the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

  • this enzyme helps regulate the body’s response to the virus by metabolizing a peptide that activates the immune system.

  • the attacking antibody interferes with ACE2’s work, which makes the antibody a prime suspect for the long-lasting illness.

  • R.C.D.B. - basically immune system still in overdrive long after the virus has gone.

Researchers tested plasma or serum for ACE2 antibodies in 67 patients with known SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection and 13 with no history of infection.

In 81% of blood samples from patients with a history of COVID-19 the samples had the antibody that attacked the ACE2.

In participants with no history of COVID-19, no antibodies were created to attack the ACE2 enzyme.

“If we show that the whole hypothesis is right, that this interference of ACE2 really does cause long COVID, then it opens up many potential treatments,” Arthur said. “If our next steps confirm that this antibody is the cause of long COVID symptoms, there are medications that should work to treat them. If we get to that phase of research, the next step would be to test these drugs and hopefully relieve people of the symptoms they’re having.”


Image by @_coronadiary

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