"In yet another example of Covid’s seemingly limitless reach into our bodies,
new research maps out how the SARS-CoV-2 virus disrupts mitochondria, the power
plants in all our cells. The extent of the damage, spanning the lungs, heart,
liver, kidneys, and brain, could potentially be one explanation for the lengthy
list of persistent symptoms of long Covid, from fatigue to brain fog.
Covid is often considered an inflammatory illness, and theories about what
might cause long Covid center on the virus lingering in reservoirs within the
body, collateral damage from an overactive immune response to acute infection,
and auto-antibodies that turn on the body with misdirected protective force.
The study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine
work showing SARS-CoV-2 can change the structure of mitochondria and hamper
energy generation. It goes further to define the genetic mechanism that damages
mitochondria in organs, leading to more severe disease and perhaps long Covid.
“What I think this paper does is cement the case for mitochondria as being one
of the root causes of long Covid,” Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research
Translational Institute, told STAT. He was not involved in the study. “What we
don’t know is whether or not this accounts for X percent, in which people who
have mitochondrial dysfunction and key root cause. But I think this study
really advances the notion that at least in some people, the mitochondrial
effects of infection are playing a role.”
The study is the fruit of a large consortium of researchers led by Douglas
Wallace, director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at
the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Since 1971, Wallace has been striving
to understand the biology and the genetics of human mitochondria and the role
they play in human health and disease. That includes understanding that the
mitochondrion had its own DNA. Mutations in mitochondrial DNA — what Wallace
calls “the wiring diagram of a power plant” — turn out to be important in a
wide variety of both rare and common diseases."
Via Frederick Wilson II.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics