We’re publishing a guest post today by John Collis, a recently retired nurse practitioner and a regular reader of the Daily Sceptic. He thinks that people presenting with Covid symptoms may be infected with more than one virus, not just SARS-CoV-2. Could the herpes family of viruses – such as mononucleosis/glandular fever – also be playing a part?
Over the course of the last two years, as different symptoms were being reported for Covid, long Covid and vaccine reactions, there seemed to be a pattern emerging that rang a few bells with me. To put this into context, for the past 15 years I was a nurse until I retired earlier this year. During that time I worked on a neurology ward and in the Emergency Department. I encountered patients who developed neurological and clotting problems a few weeks after having a viral infection, typically a stomach bug.
The reports of vaccine trial participants developing neurological problems made me think of an autoimmune response initially, but I thought nothing more about it until the symptoms of long Covid were being described, particularly fatigue. Initially, I shrugged this off as a normal post-viral reaction, until I recollected the long term effects of infective mononucleosis/glandular fever.
I knew that some members of the Herpes family of viruses never actually leave the body but lie dormant. The classic example is the virus that causes chicken pox; under certain circumstances a person who has had chicken pox may develop the painful condition shingles.
After researching the herpes family of viruses I discovered that each one of them adopts a dormant state in different types of cells in the body. For example the virus responsible for cold sores (Herpes simplex) and that responsible for chicken pox (Varicella Zoster) reside in neurons. There are others that reside in the B-cells and T-cells of the immune system. These viruses are pretty much ubiquitous across the adult population, around 90% for all but one member where the prevalence is around 15%. Fifty per cent of five year-old children already have the virus responsible for glandular fever, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), although its designation is the somewhat uninspiring HHV-4.
Besides the well known diseases associated with these viruses, I discovered that they can cause respiratory complications such as pneumonia, one even producing “ground glass” images on CT or X-ray; cardiac problems including myocarditis; neurological problems such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, and, in the case of EBV, Multiple Sclerosis; clotting disorders and endocrine disorders.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV or HHV-5) is able to cross the placenta and causes congenital problems including deafness and other neurological issues.
As mentioned earlier, these viruses lie in a dormant or latent state in the body and can be reactivated into an infective or lytic state if suitable conditions exist. One of the prime reactivating triggers is stress, which has been noted in astronauts returning from space and in patients who have been in ITU for more than five days. The exact mechanism remains uncertain, but there is a suggestion that some of the substances forming part of the immune response can actually trigger the latent to lytic state transformation. There is a suggestion that EBV may reactivate randomly in the mouth and throat. It has also been found that EBV causes ACE2 receptors to develop across certain cells when it is in the active lytic phase. ACE2 receptors are used by SARS-CoV-2 to access and infect cells.
The possibility that these viruses were playing a part in the whole SARS-CoV-2/Covid narrative, including the vaccines, provided me with an impetus to discover whether there was any published literature over the last 20 months. I discovered reports of skin rashes associated with two other herpes family viruses both in Covid patients and in post vaccination patients; similarly, reports of Herpes Zoster increasing during high infection rates. Mortality and morbidity increase in patients who have both Covid and reactivated herpes viruses. There are reports of neurological symptoms after a SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with eye and foot problems all associated with herpes family viruses. One report has myopericarditis caused by sudden HHV-6 infection leading to a potentially fatal shock condition in a Covid patient.
What conclusions may be drawn from this brief overview?
a) Covid may not be a disease state created by a single virus but in some people may involve the reactivation of one or more herpes family viruses.
b) Long Covid may be associated with the reactivation of one or more herpes family viruses.
c) Vaccination reactions may be associated with reactivation of herpes viruses.
Clearly, although 90% of adults have latent herpes viruses of different sorts, not everyone develops significant symptoms of Covid, long Covid or reactions to vaccination. Likewise, not everyone who develops Covid, long Covid or vaccine reactions necessarily have reactivated herpes viruses; however, I would suggest that may be because, in general, no-one is looking.
What is the way forward?
Personally, I would suggest that all patients present with symptoms of Covid, long Covid and reactions to vaccination are tested for the presence of herpes family viruses. If such activity is present then there may be a case for suitable antivirals against herpes to be administered. Any teenage child present with non-arrest cardiac problems should be tested for herpes viruses, whether they have had the vaccine or not.
For those who wish to look further down this particular rabbit hole, the following website may be interesting: list of herpesvirus infection studies.
Stop Press: Longtime contributor to the Daily Sceptic Dr. Freddie Attenborough did his PhD on the subject of whether SARS-CoV-1 was caused by a singular causative agent or multiple, interacting agents? You can read papers he wrote on the subject here and here.