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Article

Investigation of Long COVID Prevalence and Its Relationship to Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation

1
World Organization, Watkinsville, GA 30677, USA
2
Department of Public Health, Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University, Kahramanmaraş 46040, Turkey
3
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA
4
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Lisa Gralinski
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060763
Received: 26 May 2021 / Revised: 10 June 2021 / Accepted: 12 June 2021 / Published: 17 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients sometimes experience long-term symptoms following resolution of acute disease, including fatigue, brain fog, and rashes. Collectively these have become known as long COVID. Our aim was to first determine long COVID prevalence in 185 randomly surveyed COVID-19 patients and, subsequently, to determine if there was an association between occurrence of long COVID symptoms and reactivation of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) in 68 COVID-19 patients recruited from those surveyed. We found the prevalence of long COVID symptoms to be 30.3% (56/185), which included 4 initially asymptomatic COVID-19 patients who later developed long COVID symptoms. Next, we found that 66.7% (20/30) of long COVID subjects versus 10% (2/20) of control subjects in our primary study group were positive for EBV reactivation based on positive titers for EBV early antigen-diffuse (EA-D) IgG or EBV viral capsid antigen (VCA) IgM. The difference was significant (p < 0.001, Fisher’s exact test). A similar ratio was observed in a secondary group of 18 subjects 21–90 days after testing positive for COVID-19, indicating reactivation may occur soon after or concurrently with COVID-19 infection. These findings suggest that many long COVID symptoms may not be a direct result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus but may be the result of COVID-19 inflammation-induced EBV reactivation. View Full-Text
Keywords: long COVID; post-acute COVID-19 syndrome; PACS; chronic COVID syndrome; Epstein–Barr virus reactivation; Epstein–Barr virus; EBV; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; coronavirus long COVID; post-acute COVID-19 syndrome; PACS; chronic COVID syndrome; Epstein–Barr virus reactivation; Epstein–Barr virus; EBV; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; coronavirus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gold, J.E.; Okyay, R.A.; Licht, W.E.; Hurley, D.J. Investigation of Long COVID Prevalence and Its Relationship to Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation. Pathogens 2021, 10, 763. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060763

AMA Style

Gold JE, Okyay RA, Licht WE, Hurley DJ. Investigation of Long COVID Prevalence and Its Relationship to Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation. Pathogens. 2021; 10(6):763. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060763

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gold, Jeffrey E., Ramazan A. Okyay, Warren E. Licht, and David J. Hurley 2021. "Investigation of Long COVID Prevalence and Its Relationship to Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation" Pathogens 10, no. 6: 763. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060763

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