(Boston MA, 2023) – PolyBio Research Foundation is excited to announce that a study funded via the Organization’s LongCovid Research Consortium (LCRC) has been published as a preprint. The preprint is titled “Multimodal Molecular Imaging Reveals Tissue-Based T Cell Activation and Viral RNA.Persistence for Up to 2 Years Following COVID-19.” The study team – which includes LCRC team members Michael Peluso, Tim Henrich, and Steven Deeks at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) – used an advanced form of imaging and a biopsy procedure to identify increased T cell activation and SARS-CoV-2 virus persistence in the colon tissue of patients with Long COVID.

Long COVID patients showed increased T cell activity in areas such as the spinal cord and lymph nodes.

More specifically, Immuno-PET CT imaging showed increased T cell activation in the spinal cord, lymph nodes and colon/rectal wall in participants with Long COVID symptoms. Some Post-COVID participants also had T cell activation in body sites including the bone marrow and spinal cord. The team further identified SARS-CoV-2 spike RNA in colon tissue from all five of the Long COVID participants that underwent biopsy from 158 to 676 days following initial COVID-19 symptom onset.

Overall the team concluded that “Our findings provide additional evidence to support the role of tissue-based immune activation and viral persistence as contributors to post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, including Long COVID.” The study is part of a larger LCRC Immuno-PET imaging study that will also look for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in deep tissue reservoir tissue sites of patients with Long COVID.

The team identified SARS-CoV-2 spike RNA in colon tissue from a Long COVID patient 676 days after acute infection.