Previous Infection with Endemic Coronavirus May Predispose COVID-19 Patients to Persistent Symptoms
A recent study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that prior infection with an endemic coronavirus associated with the common cold could increase the likelihood of persistent symptoms in COVID-19 patients with rheumatic disease.
Published in Science Translational Medicine, the study examined two groups of patients with pre-existing systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease (SARD) to determine the correlation between long COVID, or post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), and antibody profiles.
- Discovery cohort: recruited before December 13, 2021
- Validation cohort: recruited from December 14, 2021, to September 16, 2022
Increased Risk for SARD Patients
Patients with SARD, including those with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory autoimmune diseases, face a higher risk of severe COVID-19.
Partial COVID Immunity, Control, Clearance
The study revealed that up to 45% of SARD patients experienced long COVID 28 days after infection. Researchers found that long-COVID patients had weaker Fcγ receptor (FcγR)-binding anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibodies but stronger Fcγ receptor (FcγR)-binding pro-inflammatory antibody responses against the endemic coronavirus OC43, which can cross-react with SARS-CoV-2 and other common coronaviruses.
“Rather than identifying an autoimmune marker of PASC, these results from two independent cohorts point to immunological imprinting by human endemic coronaviruses in patients with SARDs and PASC that may result in the generation of incomplete SARS-CoV-2 immunity, control, and clearance,” the study authors wrote.