COVID-19 infection and vaccines can reactivate Herpesviridae


New Spanish research warns that SARS-CoV-2 infections and vaccinations trigger reactivation of all types of Herpesviridae viruses.

Human Herpesviruses (HHVs), which include Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) types-1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2), Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), HHV-6, HHV-7, and HHV-8, are part of a family of DNA viruses that cause several diseases in humans. 

The virome of humans is complex and is composed of numerous virus families including members of the Herpesviridae. The Herpesviridae are classified into three subfamilies: the α-herpesviruses (herpes simplex types 1 and 2 [HSV-1 & 2] and varicella-zoster virus [VZV]), the β-herpesviruses (human cytomegalovirus [HCMV], human herpesvirus 6 A and 6B [HHV-6A & 6B] and human herpesvirus-7 [HHV-7]) and the γ-herpesviruses (Epstein-Barr virus [EBV] and human herpesvirus-8 [HHV-8]).

While these viruses can be distinguished based upon cellular tropism, serology, and DNA sequence, a common feature shared by the members of the Herpesviridae family is that they establish life-long persistent infections in individuals. These viruses are highly prevalent in the human population and are associated with numerous diseases in immune-competent and immune-suppressed individuals.

The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia.

Numerous articles have linked COVID-19 infection with coinfection or reactivation of human herpes viruses. Furthermore, evidence suggests that human herpesvirus infection may constitute a prognostic marker of COVID-19 infection and even be responsible for many of the manifestations initially attributed to SARS-CoV-2.

Recent reports indicate that in addition to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, all COVID-19 vaccines approved to date in Europe are capable of inducing herpesvirus reactivation. Fig. 1 shows the main manifestations of herpesvirus infections associated with COVID-19 (Fig. 1).

It is important to take this information into account and to consider all viruses of the Herpesviridae family when managing patients with COVID-19 infection or recently vaccinated against COVID-19.

Figure 1. Manifestations of herpesvirus infections associated with COVID-19. VHS-1, Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1; VHS-2, Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2; VVZ, Varicella-Zoster Virus; EBV, Epstein-Barr Virus; CMV, Cytomegalovirus; HHV-6, Herpes Virus-6; HHV-7, Herpes Virus-7; HHV8, Herpes Virus-8.

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