Researchers show SARS-Cov-2 infection affects energy stores in the body, causing organ failure

Nov. 22, 2023
An international research team has found how SARS-CoV-2 causes widespread “energy outages” throughout major organs, and how these effects contribute to debilitating long COVID symptoms.

The lungs were once at the forefront of SARS-Cov-2 research, but as reports of organ failure and other serious complications poured in, scientists set out to discover how and why the respiratory virus was causing serious damage to the body's major organs, including the lungs.

An interdisciplinary COVID-19 International Research Team (COV-IRT), which includes UNC School of Medicine’s Jonathan C. Schisler, PhD, found that SARS-CoV-2 alters mitochondria on a genetic level, leading to widespread “energy outages” throughout the body and its major organs. Their findings, published in Science Translational Medicine, explain how these effects contribute to long COVID symptoms and point to new therapeutic targets.

UNC release