PainRelief.com Interview with:
Venetia Zachariou PhD
Edward Avedisian Professor
Chair of Pharmacology, Physiology & Biophysics
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: COVID-19, the disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection, is associated with highly variable clinical outcomes that range from asymptomatic disease to death. For those with milder infections, COVID-19 can produce respiratory infection symptoms (cough, congestion, fever) as well as loss of the sense of smell.
A substantial number of actively infected patients suffering from both mild and severe infections experience sensory-related symptoms, such as headache, visceral pain, Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), nerve pain and inflammation. In most patients these symptoms subside after the infection ends, but, for other patients, they can persist.
PainRelief.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Using an experimental model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, we investigated the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on sensitivity to touch, both during active infection and well after the virus had cleared. We compared the effects of SARS-CoV-2 to those triggered by influenza A virus infection. Exposure to SARS-CoV-2, resulted in sensory hypersensitivity several weeks after the virus had cleared from the body. This effect was not observed with Influenza A infection. Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2 affected the expression of several dorsal root ganglia genes that might contribute to pain sensitivity and chronic pain. Using bioinformatic analysis, we tested several new treatment interventions.
PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We generated a preclinical model to screen for molecular and biochemical adaptations associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. These findings will help identifying treatment strategies to prevent or ameliorate sensory abnormalities or pain associated with Long-Covid.
PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Information on molecular adaptations in dorsal root ganglia following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection or Long Covid states can be used by the scientific community for the development of new medications for the management of complex pain conditions.
PainRelief.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?
SARS-CoV-2 airway infection results in the development of somatosensory abnormalities in a hamster model.Sci. Signal.16,eade4984(2023).DOI:10.1126/scisignal.ade4984
Randal A. Serafini et al.
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