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Papers of the Week

2022 Jun 01

Rheumatol Int

Herpesvirus infections and post-COVID-19 manifestations: a pilot observational study.


Zubchenko S, Kril I, Nadizhko O, Matsyura O, Chopyak V
Rheumatol Int. 2022 Jun 01.
PMID: 35650445.


The global spread of SARS-CoV-2 points to unrivaled mutational variation of the virus, contributing to a variety of post-COVID sequelae in immunocompromised subjects and high mortality. Numerous studies have reported the reactivation of "sluggish" herpes virus infections in COVID-19, which exaggerate the course of the disease and complicate with lasting post-COVID manifestations CMV, EBV, HHV6). This study aimed to describe clinical and laboratory features of post-COVID manifestations accompanied by the reactivation of herpes virus infections (CMV, EBV, HHV6). 88 patients were recruited for this study, including subjects with reactivation of herpes viruses, 68 (72.3%) (main group) and 20 (27.7%) subjects without detectable DNA of herpesviruses (control group): 46 (52.3%) female and 42 (47.7%) male; median age was 41.4 ± 6.7 years. Patients with post-COVID manifestations presented with reactivation of EBV in 42.6%, HHV6 in 25.0%, and EBV plus HHV6 in 32.4%. Compared with controls, patients with herpes virus infections presented with more frequent slight fever temperature, headache, psycho-neurological disorders, pulmonary abnormalities and myalgia (p < 0.01), activation of liver enzymes, elevated CRP and D-dimer, and suppressed cellular immune response (p ≤ 0.05). Preliminary results indicate a likely involvement of reactivated herpes virus infections, primarily EBV infections in severe COVID-19 and the formation of the post-COVID syndrome. Patients with the post-COVID syndrome and reactivation of EBV and HHV6 infections are at high risk of developing various pathologies, including rheumatologic diseases.