Scientists from Mount Sinai found how COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2—the virus responsible for COVID-19—can lead to long-term pain.
The new findings also point to a potential therapy for COVID-related pain.
The research was presented at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2022 meeting and was conducted by Randal (Alex) Serafini et al.
Many people suffering from long COVID experience sensory abnormalities, including various forms of pain.
In the study, the team used RNA sequencing to get a snapshot of the biochemical changes SARS-CoV-2 triggers in a pain-transmitting structure called dorsal root ganglia.
They found that COVID-19 infection left a gene expression signature in the dorsal root ganglia that remained even after the virus cleared.
The signature matched gene expression patterns seen in pain caused by other conditions.
The findings could potentially lead to new therapies for patients suffering from acute and long COVID, as well as other pain conditions.
The study also shows that SARS-CoV-2 causes long-term effects on the body in drastically new ways, further underscoring why people should try to avoid being infected.
The experiments involved a hamster model of intranasal COVID-19 infection that closely reflects symptoms experienced by people.
The researchers observed that SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters showed a slight hypersensitivity to touch early after infection, which became more severe over time, up to 30 days.
They then performed similar experiments with the Influenza A virus to determine if other RNA viruses promote similar responses.
In contrast to SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A caused an early hypersensitivity that was more severe but faded by four days post-infection.
Based on these findings, the researchers say that they could potentially target pain mechanisms that are specific to COVID patients, both acutely and chronically.
The researchers are working to identify other compounds that could be repurposed.
Sign up for our newsletter for more information about this topic.
If you care about COVID, please read studies about a new treatment option for COVID-19, and this new oral drug may prevent death from COVID-19.
For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about how finger length could help predict severe COVID-19, and results showing a universal antibody therapy for all COVID-19 variants.
Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.