PANDAS/PANS in the COVID-19 Age: Autoimmunity and Epstein–Barr Virus Reactivation as Trigger Agents?

Pallanti S, Di Ponzio M. PANDAS/PANS in the COVID-19 Age: Autoimmunity and Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation as Trigger Agents? Children (Basel). 2023 Mar 30;10(4):648. doi: 10.3390/children10040648. PMID: 37189896; PMCID: PMC10136983.
“Herein, we discuss the results of studies that specifically reported data about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or infection on children with Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Disorders (PANS). Furthermore, we present the cases of five adolescents with PANS whose symptomatology increased following SARS-CoV-2 infection. What emerged from this study was that COVID-19 resulted in the exacerbation of obsessions, tics, anxiety and mood symptoms and decreased wellbeing. Moreover, new symptoms, as well as new PANS cases, are reported to have arisen after COVID-19 infection. Here, we hypothesize that the pathogenic mechanisms of silent viruses, such as the Epstein–Barr virus, are related to neuroinflammation, immune responses and reactivation, with additional roles played by social-isolation-related inflammatory processes. The discussion of PANS, which represents a model of immune-mediated neuropsychiatric manifestations, is particularly relevant, with the aim of uncovering the mechanisms that lead to neuropsychiatric Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome (PACS). Prospects for future studies and treatment implications are discussed.”

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