UA researchers study theory that the coronavirus could briefly block suffering, masking ailment

For all its deadly outcomes, the novel coronavirus may well truly have a person unexpected side effect. 

a man sitting at a table: University of Arizona researcher Rajesh Khanna oversees the preparation of substances for experiments. His laboratory conducted a study showing that the novel coronavirus may reduce or block some sensations of pain.

© Courtesy of Kris Hanning
University of Arizona researcher Rajesh Khanna oversees the planning of substances for experiments. His laboratory done a study demonstrating that the novel coronavirus might minimize or block some sensations of soreness.

It could block ache, potentially allowing the virus to lurk undetected in a body in its earliest stages. 


A new review from experts at the College of Arizona Health Sciences center shows that the novel coronavirus has a 2nd receptor that is linked to discomfort signaling. The coronavirus spike attaches to receptors to enter and infect cells.

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By attaching to this receptor, called the neuropilin-1 receptor, the virus looks to lessen or end suffering entirely, according to the study’s lead researcher, Rajesh Khanna.

“The pathway for soreness is shut off,” Khanna reported.

In its latest review, Khanna’s team tested the capability of the virus to give ache reduction in in excess of 100 mice. They injected some of the mice with an inactivated spike of the novel coronavirus that are unable to lead to an infection but that however attaches to the neuropilin-1 receptor. The other mice received placebos.

The mice obtaining the coronavirus spikes knowledgeable suffering aid inside 30 minutes, which persisted for about nine hours, in accordance to Khanna.

He theorizes that this mechanism could allow for the virus to fly below the radar earlier on in the system of a COVID-19 an infection, prior to signs come about and when men and women are the most infectious.

Laboratory graduate student Lisa Boinon prepares substances for experiments.

© Courtesy of Kris Hanning
Laboratory graduate scholar Lisa Boinon prepares substances for experiments.

“It’s possible in the to start with levels, the very first critical phases, you’re resilient to that, you have pain reduction,” he reported. “It really is fooling you into believing that you happen to be wonderful.”

This is just a principle, Khanna mentioned, and he is not a coronavirus qualified. Even if the virus blocks inner thoughts of suffering, Khanna said, people today can still get unwell. 

He has received dozens of anecdotal email messages since his examine revealed from sufferers who experienced long-term ache ailments in advance of acquiring ill.

“Then they acquired COVID and now their pain is absent,” he reported. “I fully accept that these are anecdotes … but it’s a recurrent topic. It really is head boggling!”

Once the COVID-19 an infection subsides in the patients, their continual discomfort will come again, he said.

Whilst these are anecdotal circumstances, Khanna believes it demonstrates that it might be important to study this receptor further more.

Instead than blocking all forms of ache, the receptor looks to be most linked to continual inflammatory pains these kinds of as arthritis, back again discomfort, or suffering as a consequence of chemotherapies. 

He also theorized that the virus may attach more often to the neuropilin-1 receptor in asymptomatic COVID-19 individuals than to the major receptor. The key receptor for the virus is the ACE2 receptor, which is observed in a variety of organs this sort of as the lung, kidney, heart and intestines.

As a UA professor of pharmacology who specializes in investigating soreness and suffering treatment plans, Khanna is fired up about the implications of the study past this pandemic. His team had presently been finding out the neuropilin-1 receptor for the final 18 months to gauge opportunity pain management solutions.

“What this virus did was expose this receptor as a new participant in suffering signaling,” he stated.

He options to use the findings to further research the receptor and target this area for future suffering administration therapies or remedies.

Amanda Morris handles all items bioscience, which includes health care, technology, new research and the surroundings. Send her recommendations, story tips, or puppy memes at [email protected] and abide by her on Twitter @amandamomorris for the latest bioscience updates.

Unbiased coverage of bioscience in Arizona is supported by a grant from the Flinn Foundation.

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This post initially appeared on Arizona Republic: UA scientists review idea that the coronavirus could briefly block soreness, masking health issues

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