ClSARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can relieve pain, according to a new study by University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers.
The finding may explain why nearly half of people who get COVID-19 experience few or no symptoms, even though they are able to spread the disease, according to the study’s corresponding author Rajesh Khanna, Ph.D., a professor in the College of Medicine—Tucson’s Department of Pharmacology.
“It made a lot of sense to me that perhaps the reason for the unrelenting spread of COVID-19 is that in the early stages, you’re walking around all fine as if nothing is wrong because your pain has been suppressed,” said Dr. Khanna.
“You have the virus, but you don’t feel bad because you pain is gone. If we can prove that this pain relief is what is causing COVID-19 to spread further, that’s of enormous value.”
The paper, “SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein co-opts VEGF-A/Neuropilin-1 receptor signalingto induce analgesia,” will be published in PAIN.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated data Sept. 10 estimating 50% of COVID-19 transmission occurs prior to the onset of symptoms and 40% of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic.
“This research raises the possibility that pain, as an early symptom of COVID-19, may be reduced by the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as it silences the body’s pain signaling pathways,” said UArizona Health Sciences Senior Vice President Michael D. Dake, MD.
“University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers at the Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center are leveraging this unique finding to explore a novel class of therapeutics for pain as we continue to seek new ways to address the opioid epidemic.”
Viruses infect host cells through protein receptors on cell membranes. Early in the pandemic, scientists established that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein uses the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to enter the body. But in June, two papers posted on the preprint server bioRxiv pointed to neuropilin-1 as a second receptor for SARS-CoV-2.
“That caught our eye because for the last 15 years my lab has been studying a complex of proteins and pathways that relate to pain processing that are downstream of neuropilin,” said Dr. Khanna, who is affiliated with the UArizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center and is a member of the UArizona BIO5 Institute. “So we stepped back and realized this could mean that maybe the spike protein is involved in some sort of pain processing.”
Image Credit: Envato/Amanda Scott
For about one in 13 children in the U.S., normally harmless foodstuffs such as milk, eggs and peanuts can send the body's natural defenses into overdrive. Symptoms of food allergies can vary widely, but at [...]
Frank Boehm (Nanoapps Medical Inc. Founder) has contributed to 'Platelet-Rich Plasma Applications for Achilles Tendon Repair: A Bridge between Biology and Surgery', published by International Journal of Molecular Sciences/ MDP. Abstract: Achilles tendon ruptures [...]
Using both mouse and human brain tissue, researchers at Yale School of Medicine have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect the central nervous system and have begun to unravel some of the virus’s effects on [...]
A deep learning algorithm developed at MIT has discovered new antibiotics that can treat drug-resistant diseases by killing 35 powerful bacteria. The pathogens that the halicin antibiotic has targetted include Acinetobacter baumannii, which was nicknamed [...]
In our transforming world, digital technology has the critical mass to push our frontiers and release unlimited potential. As the wave of digital transformation soars high, improving our lives, industries and economies, we must not [...]
Scientists Discover a Way to Control the Immune System’s “Natural Killer” Cells With “Invisible” Stem Cells
UC San Francisco scientists have discovered a new way to control the immune system’s “natural killer” (NK) cells, a finding with implications for novel cell therapies and tissue implants that can evade immune rejection. The [...]
A team led by scientists at Georgia State University simulates the precise transition between the processes of DNA synthesis and proofreading DNA replication is one of the most important processes in biology, responsible for ensuring [...]
Everybody loves Neandertals, those big-brained brutes we supposedly outcompeted and ultimately replaced using our sharp tongues and quick, delicate minds. But did we really, though? Is it mathematically possible that we could yet be them, [...]
From a small discovery to producing at scale, photojournalist David Levene documents the groundbreaking work of the scientists of Oxford University during the development of a vaccine which is now poised for approval by medicines regulators. [...]
Optical tweezers are a rapidly growing technology, and have opened up a wide variety of research applications in recent years. The devices operate by trapping particles at the focal points of tightly focused laser beams, [...]
In what is believed to be a medical first, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) have enabled a quadriplegic man to control a pair of prosthetic [...]
Antibodies are remarkable biomarkers: they are the cues that provide us with indications about many diseases and how our immune system counter them. Now a group of scientists from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata [...]
Scientists used human white blood cell membranes to carry two drugs, an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, directly to infected lungs in mice. The nano-sized drug delivery method developed at Washington State University successfully treated both [...]