Showing posts with label Long COVID-19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Long COVID-19. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Post-infectious body odor

Every infection has a distinct odor. It could be associated with changes in the gut microbiome. Besides, circulating B-cells from our immune system are also producing chemical odors that appear after viral infection. T-cell and cytokine involvement is also possible. Infections can change body odor for the worse.  PATM or MEBO conditions could begin after an infection and linger thereafter.  

COVID-19 is known to be associated with a specific odor.  Early studies identified volatile compounds that discriminated COVID-19 from other conditions. Some of these compounds - such as fruity smelling ketones - are also associated with diabetes - a risk factor for Severe COVID-19 infection. Another compound, Heptanal, associated with lung cancer, can also predict the severity of the Coronavirus disease.

Dogs (and rats and other animals) can easily detect the smell of COVID-19. They are already helping during this pandemic - Massachusetts schools, for example, are using dogs to sniff out Covid-19. The dogs come to the schools weekly and work to detect cases in empty classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums, If Covid is detected, the authorities tell the health nurse who relays the information to the people affected.

Long COVID - when people continue to have symptoms of COVID-19 for months after their initial illness. - has a distinct smell as well. A paper posted today on MedRxiv tells that dogs can easily detect long COVID as well - in at least half of the cases. 

Between May and October 2021, 45 Long COVID patients sent their axillary sweat samples to the National Veterinary School of Alfort. Average age of the patients was 45 (6-71) and 73.3% were female. No patient had been admitted in intensive care unit during the acute phase. Prolonged symptoms had been evolving for an average of 15.2 months (range: 5-22). Main symptoms of prolonged phase were intense fatigue (n=37, 82.2%), neurocognitive disorders such as concentration and attention difficulties, immediate memory loss (n=24, 53.3%), myalgias/arthralgias (n=22, 48.9%), cardiopulmonary symptoms (dyspnea, cough, chest pain, palpitations) (n=21, 46.7%), digestive symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal pain, reflux, gastroparesis...) (n=18, 40.0%), ENT disorders (hyposmia, parosmia, tinnitus, nasal obstruction, inflammatory tongue, dysphonia, sinusitis) (n=18, 40.0%) (table 1). 11 (24.4) patients had at least one positive SARS-CoV-2 serology before any vaccination, 29 (64.4%) had a negative SARS-CoV-2 serology and 5 (11.1%) had no serology results. Snapshot of the table shows some of the cases. Interestingly, patients with odor exhibited symptoms similar to long COVID sufferers in the MEBO community. This includes loss of smell and heart palpitations. 


REFERENCES


Dominique GRANDJEAN, Dorsaf SLAMA, Capucine GALLET, Clothilde JULIEN, Emilie SEYRAT, Marc BLONDOT, Maissa BENAZAZIEZ, Judith ELBAZ, Dominique SALMON Screening for SARS-CoV-2 persistence in Long COVID patients using sniffer dogs and scents from axillary sweats samples  medRxiv 2022.01.11.21268036; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.11.21268036

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Worried about body odor?

You are not alone. According to pre-COVID surveys, over one third said the fear of smelling unpleasant left them feeling unhappy and unattractive. Many people who survived COVID-19 worry about their body odor getting worse post-infection.

A team of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University surveyed 322 individuals with loss of smell or taste as a result of confirmed COVID-19 infection and found that about half of them felt depressed and worried about their body odor [Coelho et al., 2021].  Extrapolating results of other surveys, this translates into about 20% of those who got through COVID-19.  

The most frequently reported phantom smell (likely not actually there) is the odor of smoke or burned food [Frasnelli et al, 2004]. Interestingly, these are also the most frequently reported types of smells that long-COVID sufferers can't perceive, when others detect them. 

Temporary loss of smell is common. About 20% of population experience it sometime before the age of 75. This number increases to ~80% in older age. 

Loss of smell associated with viral infections, especially COVID-19 is much more prevalent. Sometimes it's the only symptom associated with this infection. A meta-analysis of published reports reveals that the overall prevalence of alteration of the sense of smell or taste following COVID-19 infection ranges between 31% and 67% in severe and mild-to-moderate symptomatic patients, respectively. Fortunately, in most (70-80%) cases it comes back in 6 month or longer. A higher recovery rate was highlighted for subjects who underwent influenza vaccination. 

REFERENCES

Coelho DH, Reiter ER, Budd SG, Shin Y, Kons ZA, Costanzo RM. Quality of life and safety impact of COVID-19 associated smell and taste disturbances. American Journal of Otolaryngology. 2021 Jul 1;42(4):103001.

Frasnelli J, Landis BN, Heilmann S, Hauswald B, Hüttenbrink KB, Lacroix JS, Leopold DA, Hummel T. Clinical presentation of qualitative olfactory dysfunction. European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Head & Neck. 2004 Aug;261(7):411-5. 

Maiorano E, Calastri A, Robotti C, Cassaniti I, Baldanti F, Zuccaro V, Stellin E, Ferretti VV, Klersy C, Benazzo M. Clinical, virological and immunological evolution of the olfactory and gustatory dysfunction in COVID-19. American Journal of Otolaryngology. 2022 Jan 1;43(1):103170.

Vaira LA, De Vito A, Lechien JR, Chiesa‐Estomba CM, Mayo‐Yàñez M, Calvo‐Henrìquez C, Saussez S, Madeddu G, Babudieri S, Boscolo‐Rizzo P, Hopkins C. New onset of smell and taste loss are common findings also in patients with symptomatic COVID‐19 after complete vaccination. The Laryngoscope. 2021 Nov 26.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

FMO3 and COVID-19

Flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 (FMO3) enzyme is a seemingly insignificant enzyme that normally converts fishy-smelling trimethylamine (TMA) into a neutral trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). The amounts of this highly-specialized detoxifying enzyme are highly variable. It depends on the age, sex hormones, infections (estradiol and testosterone, hepatitis virus have been found to reduce FMO3 capacity), obesity traits and diseases such as diabetes. The difference can be up to 20-fold between individuals. Mutations in the FMO3 gene cause low metabolic capacity associated with the disorder trimethylaminuria (TMAU) that attracts little biomedical interest.  This condition, however, might matter more than it seems.

Could there be a link between FMO3 and SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination? 

Individuals differ in their susceptibility to viral infections and genes contribute to the risk score. Less than 10% of humans infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis develop TB, partially because of polymorphism in Tyrosine kinase (TYK2, P1104A) also responsible for severe COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, it was discovered that SARS-CoV-2 infection is dependent on the ACE2 receptor for cell entry and the serine protease TMPRSS2 for spike protein priming. ACE2 expression, indeed, influences COVID-19 risk and a rare variant located close to this gene was found to confer protection against COVID-19, possibly by decreasing ACE2 expression. Interestingly, FMO3 is one of the few genes with expression correlated to ACE2 [Sungnak et al, 2020] along with genes associated with immune functions. 

Coronavirus disease is associated with increased risk of thrombotic events. According to recent research, low levels of FMO3 protect against thrombosis [Shih et al, 2019] while some FMO3 mutations confer higher risk [Oliveira-Filho et al, 2021]. FMO3 rs1736557 might increase the anti‐platelet efficacy of clopidogrel [Zhu et al, 2021]. Genetic risk can be mediated by gut microbiota [Gabashvili, 2020]. There are also associations with other diseases such as diabetes, renal and cardiovascular conditions increasing risk of severe COVID-19. 

Studying trimethylaminuria-like conditions might help in developing strategies for prevention and therapy of other diseases, including COVID-19.

Our COVID-19 disease and vaccines study [NCT04832932, Gabashvili, 2021] compares side-effects of vaccines and clinical course of infections (including vaccine breakthroughs) in several cohorts including MEBO and TMAU. You can help by enrolling and participating in this online survey in English or Spanish.



REFERENCES

Andreakos E, Abel L, Vinh DC, Kaja E, Drolet BA, Zhang Q, O’Farrelly C, Novelli G, Rodríguez-Gallego C, Haerynck F, Prando C. A global effort to dissect the human genetic basis of resistance to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Nature immunology. 2021 Oct 18:1-6. 

Gabashvili IS. Cutaneous Bacteria in the Gut Microbiome as Biomarkers of Systemic Malodor and People Are Allergic to Me (PATM) Conditions: Insights from a Virtually Conducted Clinical Trial. JMIR Dermatology. 2020 Nov 4;3(1):e10508.  

Gabashvili IS. Community-Based Phenotypic Study of Safety, Tolerability, Reactogenicity and Immunogenicity of Emergency-Use-Authorized Vaccines Against COVID-19 and Viral Shedding Potential of Post-Vaccination Infections: Protocol for an Ambispective study. medRxiv 2021.06.28.21256779; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.28.21256779

Liu W, Wang C, Xia Y, Xia W, Liu G, Ren C, Gu Y, Li X, Lu P. Elevated plasma trimethylamine-N-oxide levels are associated with diabetic retinopathy. Acta Diabetologica. 2021 Feb;58(2):221-9.

Janmohamed A, Dolphin CT, Phillips IR, Shephard EA. Quantification and cellular localization of expression in human skin of genes encoding flavin-containing monooxygenases and cytochromes P450. Biochemical pharmacology. 2001 Sep 15;62(6):777-86.

Oliveira-Filho AF, Medeiros PF, Velloso RN, Lima EC, Aquino IM, Nunes AB. Trimethylaminuria and Vascular Complications. Journal of the Endocrine Society. 2021 Apr;5(Supplement_1):A313-4. 

Zhu KX, Song PY, Li MP, Du YX, Ma QL, Peng LM, Chen XP. Association of FMO3 rs1736557 polymorphism with clopidogrel response in Chinese patients with coronary artery disease. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2021 Mar;77(3):359-68.

Sungnak W, Huang N, Bécavin C, Berg M, Queen R, Litvinukova M, Talavera-López C, Maatz H, Reichart D, Sampaziotis F, Worlock KB. SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes. Nature medicine. 2020 May;26(5):681-7.

Shih, D.M., Zhu, W., Schugar, R.C., Meng, Y., Jia, X., Miikeda, A., Wang, Z., Zieger, M., Lee, R., Graham, M. and Allayee, H., 2019. Genetic deficiency of Flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 (Fmo3) protects against thrombosis but has only a minor effect on plasma lipid levels—brief report. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology, 39(6), pp.1045-1054. 



Friday, July 2, 2021

Viruses and Vaccines

The COVID-19 Back-to-normal study was initiated in January 2021 as an effort of a tight-​knit neighborhood to help each other avoid the virus and vaccinate safely.

Later the research protocol was approved by MEBO Research IRB and the study was open to other communities around the world. 

By now, we have over 600 participants. 

Early results of the study in MEBO/PATM community, based on the replies of the first 26 enrollees, showed that while reactions to vaccine were similar to the general population, experiences with COVID-19 infections were not - 2 individuals were not able to avoid the disease in this group, and both of them experienced long term effects. 

As of today, we have stories from 41 members of MEBO/PATM community and 6 different vaccines: AstraZeneca-Oxford, Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac and BBIBP-CorV, also known as the Sinopharm vaccine.

Currently, in various areas of the world, 19 COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for use. Statistics on short-term effects of these vaccines have been published for different groups. If we compare our data to published data matching by ages and vaccines, short-term effects are very similar. Some of our sub-groups, especially healthy elderly participants, experienced far fewer side effects than reported in the literature. There were slightly fewer common adverse reactions in MEBO Pfizer group, but incidences of fatigue were on a higher side for all vaccines, and there were more reports of fever experienced after Moderna and Astrazeneca, albeit it was not significantly different from the general population. More significant differences were for less common and longer-term effects including fast heartbeat, dry mouth, skin reactions and swollen lymph nodes. The figure below shows common symptoms for Long COVID. Underlined are some of the issues reported after COVID vaccine uptakes in the group. Possible worsening of MEBO/PATM symptoms after vaccinations was reported by 10% of study participants. 

The most significant difference of MEBO group from the general population is the response to COVID-19 infection. 6 people (3 males, 3 females) out of 41 study participants experienced COVID-19 and all of them had long-term reactions. 5 out of 6 considered themselves long-haulers. The 6th person reported persistent MEBO/PATM issues  post-acute COVID-19. That's 80-100% of long-haulers, ~4 times more than researchers estimate! Our rate is closer to some groups with severe genetic conditions - such as individuals with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia  - predisposing to bad smell from nostrils. 

Postinfectious fatigue was the most commonly reported symptom in this group. Long-lasting loss of smell happened in ~16% - as in the general population. MEBO/PATM symptoms were significantly increased, unless well under control before the infection. There's anecdotal evidence, based on posts in social media, that some sufferers of chronic COVID-19 are experiencing more aversive underarm smell. 7% of long-haulers are thought to sense phantom distorted smells. Is it really imagined smells or could it be real change in their odor?

We also had reports of successful management of persistent COVID symptoms with a low histamine, gluten-free, dairy-free and no carb diets.

Why is MEBO/PATM community more susceptible to long COVID? A new study argues that long-haulers might actually be experiencing an attack of fatigue-inducing Epstein-Barr virus (EBV, a member of herpesvirus family HHV-4) that was lying dormant in their bodies.  For this study, Gold and his colleagues analyzed blood of 30 people with chronic COVID (out of 185 COVID survivors). 20 out of these 30 carried high levels of EBV antibodies. Vaccines were shown to reactivate viruses too, in much rarer cases. As was demonstrated for Pfizer vaccine that woke up another herpes virus, chickenpox herpes-zoster (HHV-3), that causes shingles when reactivated (this happened to 1% of patients with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases). Herpes simplex (HSV-1) can be also kept in remission by a healthy immune system and can be also reactivated by COVID-19.

MEBO and PATM symptoms could arise following an infection. Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 can reactivate the old viruses that caused these symptoms to begin with? 

Community immunity (also known as herd immunity) protects everyone. We hope that MEBO/PATM community stays COVID-free and safe. 



REFERENCES

Gabashvili IS. Community-Based Phenotypic Study of Safety, Tolerability, Reactogenicity and Immunogenicity of Emergency-Use-Authorized Vaccines Against COVID-19 and Viral Shedding Potential of Post-Vaccination Infections: Protocol for a prospective study medRxiv 2021.06.28.21256779; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.28.21256779

McDonald I, Murray SM, Reynolds CJ, Altmann DM, Boyton RJ. Comparative systematic review and meta-analysis of reactogenicity, immunogenicity and efficacy of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. npj Vaccines. 2021 May 13;6(1):1-4.

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

Monday, June 21, 2021

COVID-19 and vaccine reactogenicity in MEBO/PATM community

Infections have been shown to alter body odor and so have immunizations. So far, only nonhuman animals were able to detect the subtle changes in chemical makeup after vaccinations and even their sensitive noses were not able to differentiate between different vaccines - such as the rabies virus or the West Nile virus vaccines [Kimball et al, 2014]. However, this was the case of very mild reactions to immunization. Even slightly stronger inflammatory responses, to relatively weak immune challenges, can, indeed, be detected by human noses [Gordon et al, 2018]. Urine and axillary odor are becoming slightly more aversive in healthy humans, as a function of immune activation. But this is not supposed to last too long.

Our preliminary results, based on responses to the survey for 24 members of MEBO community and 6 of their family members show a wide variety of reactions to Astrazeneca, J&J, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac/Coronavac vaccines. 

Interestingly, Pfizer vaccine that caused no or very mild reactions in several MEBO participants, was also the vaccine that possibly caused temporary worsening of odor symptoms in one person in the community. Another MEBO participant that reported possible worsening of odor from Moderna vaccine had one thing in common with the other individual - they both had pre-existing conditions related to their upper digestive tract. Some Astrazeneca recipients also reported odor issues but did not think it was worse than usual. 

One of the most interesting observations was that even though only 2 members of MEBO/PATM community reported COVID-19 infection (before or between vaccinations), both of them had long COVID with long-term neurological manifestations such as fatigue, ENT symptoms and loss of smell.

Adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are influenced by a multitude of factors, many of which can be anticipated and alleviated. A certain level of inflammation is needed to trigger an effective adaptive immune response, but both environment and genetic makeup determine who is more likely to experience particular symptoms after infection and from the vaccine.

You can help by telling us about your experiences with COVID-19 and/or vaccinations. These surveys can be used for posting your brief stories - no need to answer all the questions. And you can always add to your story later. Please use your anonymous ID and let us know if you have any questions.

Survey

in English:  https://bit.ly/BTN-eng

en Español: https:/bit.ly/BTN-esp


We'll be posting more observations and comparisons with over 600 participants of our study from other communities. 


REFERENCES

Blumental S, Debré P. Challenges and issues of anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Frontiers in Medicine. 2021;8.

Gordon AR, Kimball BA, Sorjonen K, Karshikoff B, Axelsson J, Lekander M, Lundström JN, Olsson MJ. Detection of inflammation via volatile cues in human urine. Chemical senses. 2018 Nov 1;43(9):711-9.

Kimball BA, Opiekun M, Yamazaki K, Beauchamp GK. Immunization alters body odor. Physiology & behavior. 2014 Apr 10;128:80-5.