Potential molecular mechanisms of chronic fatigue in long haul COVID and other viral diseases

Document Type


Publication Date



IFNγ, Microglia, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, Mitochondria, COVID-19


Historically, COVID-19 emerges as one of the most devastating diseases of humankind, which creates an unmanageable health crisis worldwide. Until now, this disease costs millions of lives and continues to paralyze human civilization's economy and social growth, leaving an enduring damage that will take an exceptionally long time to repair. While a majority of infected patients survive after mild to moderate reactions after two to six weeks, a growing population of patients suffers for months with severe and prolonged symptoms of fatigue, depression, and anxiety. These patients are no less than 10% of total COVID-19 infected individuals with distinctive chronic clinical symptomatology, collectively termed post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or more commonly long-haul COVID. Interestingly, Long-haul COVID and many debilitating viral diseases display a similar range of clinical symptoms of muscle fatigue, dizziness, depression, and chronic inflammation. In our current hypothesis-driven review article, we attempt to discuss the molecular mechanism of muscle fatigue in long-haul COVID, and other viral diseases as caused by HHV6, Powassan, Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), and HIV. We also discuss the pathological resemblance of virus-triggered muscle fatigue with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).