Unexplained post-acute infection syndromes (Choutka et al., 2022)
(spacing added for readability)SARS-CoV-2 is not unique in its ability to cause post-acute sequelae; certain acute infections have long been associated with an unexplained chronic disability in a minority of patients. These post-acute infection syndromes (PAISs) represent a substantial healthcare burden, but there is a lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms, representing a significant blind spot in the field of medicine.
The relatively similar symptom profiles of individual PAISs, irrespective of the infectious agent, as well as the overlap of clinical features with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), suggest the potential involvement of a common etiopathogenesis.
In this Review, we summarize what is known about unexplained PAISs, provide context for post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), and delineate the need for basic biomedical research into the underlying mechanisms behind this group of enigmatic chronic illnesses.