Publications & Posters

Markers of Immune Activation and Inflammation in Individuals With Postacute Sequelae of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection

The Journal of Infectious Diseases | September 27, 2021

Peluso MJ, Lu S, Tang AF, Durstenfeld MS, Ho HE, Goldberg SA, Forman CA, Munter SE, Hoh R, Tai V, Chenna A, Yee BC, Winslow JW, Petropoulos CJ, Greenhouse B, Hunt PW, Hsue PY, Martin JN, Daniel Kelly J, Glidden DV, Deeks SG and Henrich TJ

J Infect Dis. 2021



The biological processes associated with postacute sequelae of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (PASC) are unknown.


We measured soluble markers of inflammation in a SARS-CoV-2 recovery cohort at early (<90 days) and late (>90 days) timepoints. We defined PASC as the presence of 1 or more coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–attributed symptoms beyond 90 days. We compared fold-changes in marker values between those with and without PASC using mixed-effects models with terms for PASC and early and late recovery time periods.


During early recovery, those who went on to develop PASC generally had higher levels of cytokine biomarkers including tumor necrosis factor–α (1.14-fold higher mean ratio [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.01–1.28]; P = .028) and interferon-γ–induced protein 10 (1.28-fold higher mean ratio [95% CI, 1.01–1.62]; P = .038). Among those with PASC, there was a trend toward higher interleukin 6 levels during early recovery (1.29-fold higher mean ratio [95% CI, .98–1.70]; P = .07), which became more pronounced in late recovery (1.44-fold higher mean ratio [95% CI, 1.11–1.86]; P < .001). These differences were more pronounced among those with a greater number of PASC symptoms.


Persistent immune activation may be associated with ongoing symptoms following COVID-19. Further characterization of these processes might identify therapeutic targets for those experiencing PASC.