HERV-W ENV protein and gene expression in post-COVID-19 "long-haul" patients

Project: Research project

Project Details


Early activation of HERV-W ENV protein expression by SARS-CoV-2 was observed in about 20% of healthy donors PBMC upon in vitro exposure and maybe a contributing factor to the immunopathology of COVID-19 in susceptible individuals. An elevated expression of the HERV-W ENV protein in white blood cells of COVID-19 patients compared to that of healthy donors has been demonstrated and its correlation with markers of inflammation, T cell terminal differentiation and exhaustion, and cytokine expression, has been shown. In addition, two independent groups have now observed that HERV-W ENV is expressed in brain focal areas of patients who died from COVID-19, involving microglia and endothelial cells of certain blood vessels. As observed in MS and other neurodegenerative diseases, this expression may continue long after the initial infection has triggered it and may fuel long-term neurodegeneration in the brain of affected patients. Temelimab is a IgG4 monoclonal antibody directed to HERV-W ENV currently investigated as a therapy for progressive forms of multiple sclerosis. Before testing the efficacy of temelimab on patients suffering from post-COVID neurological symptoms, it is mandatory to understand whether this protein is still expressed and released, in conditions allowing its detection in the blood of patients that were infected with SARS-CoV-2, and had mild or severe acute forms of COVID-19.
Effective start/end date10/1/213/31/23


  • GeNeuro SA (Agmt# 09/14/21)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.