Towards a cure for long COVID

Christian Brander


    Christian Brander


    IrsiCaixa, Institut de Recerca de la Sida la Caixa, Spain


    Ten per cent of COVID-19 infected individuals continue to experience symptoms months after infection. This illness, known as post-COVID-19 condition (PCC), can include severe neurological impairments such as brain fog and loss of memory, concentration or attention.

    Although the reason for the persistence of symptoms is not yet known, several studies suggest that one of the possible causes could be alterations at epigenetic level, i.e., mechanisms that acts like on/off switches in genes. As in the case of HIV, the IrsiCaixa research team has observed that SARS-CoV-2 infection could be the cause of changes in these switches, which turn genes on and off and can alter the response of the patient's immune system, resulting in neurological alterations.

    To determine the role of epigenetics in long COVID, the project team will assess whether there are alterations at this level, while also characterising potential neurological and immune system alterations. This will enable identification of the key affected genes involved in long COVID. To this end, the team will use an animal model of COVID-19 and test new therapeutic strategies aimed at reversing epigenetic dysregulation.


    • Simon Heath, CNAG-CRG, Centre for Genomic Regulation, Spain

    • Lourdes Mateu, Fundación FLS de Lucha contra el Sida, las Enfermedades Infecciosas y la Promoción de la Salud y la Ciencia, Spain

    • Joaquim Segalés, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries – IRTA, Spain


    Epigenetic regulation of host immunity and  neurological long-term  consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection