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Can Long COVID-19 be Caused by Abnormally Suppressed Immune Systems

April 27, 2022 • 2:28 am CDT
by Alfonso Cerezo
(Coronavirus Today)

A California-based UCLA-led research team recently found a surprising clue to the Long COVID syndrome, contradicting their initial hypothesis. An abnormally suppressed immune system may be to blame for this new disease.

Many scientists have suggested that the persistence of immune hyperactivity after COVID-19 is a major contributor.

COVID-19 is known to be caused by hyperactive immune responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus resulting in damage to lungs and other organs, and sometimes what is known as a “cytokine storm” that overwhelms the individual, which could lead to severe illness and death.

'We observed significantly increased blood cell surface CCR5 in treated symptomatic responders but not in nonresponders or placebo-treated participants,' wrote these researchers.

“While this was a small pilot study, it does suggest that some people with long COVID may have underactive immune systems after recovering from COVID-19, which means that boosting immunity in those individuals could be a treatment,” commented senior author Dr. Otto Yang, a professor of medicine, division of infectious diseases, and of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in a UCLA press release issued on April 22, 2022.

In a subset of persons who recover from the initial illness, various symptoms persist, such as fatigue, mental haziness, and shortness of breath, which can be debilitating and last for months.

Although symptoms vary widely, this is generally classified as long COVID, and this syndrome is probably not a single disease entity.

However, limited understanding of its causes makes it difficult to find ways to treat the condition.

Yang added, “Patients who improved were those who started with low CCR5 on their T cells, suggesting their immune system was less active than normal, and levels of CCR5 actually increased in people who improved."

"This leads to the new hypothesis that long COVID is related to the immune system being suppressed and not hyperactive in some persons."

"And that while blocking its activity, the antibody can stabilize CCR5 expression on the cell surface leading to upregulation of other immune receptors or functions.”

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, was funded by CytoDyn Inc., and was conducted by researchers either employed by or serving as consultants to the company.

Note: The press release was edited for clarity and manually curated for mobile readers.