Study: Covid-19 Infection Briefly Alleviates Chronic Pain


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova; Rajesh Khanna, a University of Arizona professor of pharmacology who specializes in researching pain and pain treatments, has discovered that a Covid-19 viral spike protein appears to block pain signals caused by inflammation. Rajesh has received multiple reports from people who suffer from chronic pain conditions stating that while they were infected, they didn’t experience any pain.

UA scientists study theory that the coronavirus may briefly block pain, masking illness

Amanda Morris
Arizona Republic
Oct 5 2020

For all its deadly effects, the novel coronavirus may actually have one unexpected side effect. 

By attaching to this receptor, called the neuropilin-1 receptor, the virus seems to decrease or stop pain entirely, according to the study’s lead researcher, Rajesh Khanna.

“The pathway for pain is shut off,” Khanna said.

He has received dozens of anecdotal emails since his study published from patients who had chronic pain conditions before getting sick.

“Then they got COVID and now their pain is gone,” he said. “I fully acknowledge that these are anecdotes … but it’s a recurrent theme. It’s mind boggling!”

Read more:

Professor Khanna’s study is available here.

Professor Khanna thinks this potent pain masking effect might be an evolutionary adaption. It could allow the infectious to carry on with their normal lives, blocking awareness that they are sick.

Thanks to Professor Khanna’s research, It seems likely that doctors may soon have a potent new pain medication in their arsenal, to help improve the lives of people who suffer from debilitating chronic pain.

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Larry Wirth
October 10, 2020 10:38 pm

Things that seem too good to be true usually are.

Reply to  Larry Wirth
October 12, 2020 7:57 am

There’s more to it:

“A new finding suggests Covid-19 doesn’t just bind to the ACE2 receptor, it also binds to a key pain receptor called neuropilin-1 receptor (NRP-1). This could explain why some people with a high viral load are asymptomatic and infectious but unaware they are unwell. It’s like the virus is arriving with it’s own morphine. ”

Doc Chuck
October 10, 2020 11:04 pm

But I thought the science around Covid19 was pretty much settled that it could only threaten to widely move even the slightly vulnerable majority to hysterical panic and thus foster national economic paralysis. Now I must also leave room for some gratitude for relief from my chronic pains without accompanying potential for drug addiction? What’s this world coming to?!

October 10, 2020 11:42 pm

I’ve noticed this with many a virus. A lot of pain is auto-immune inflammation: If the immune system has nothing better to do, it attacks you instead.

The virus gives it something better to do.

Likewise pain due to nervous tension. Once you are ill enough, that’s all there is to worry about.

Reply to  Leo Smith
October 11, 2020 12:35 am

I too have noticed this with other flus. Haven’t had COVID, but over many years my multiple sclerosis pain often abates in the first few days after getting sick. The effect does not last long.

Reply to  Kozlowski
October 12, 2020 4:27 am

I wish
the neuralgia I get when Im coming down wih cold or flu is intensely painful
worse then the daily RA pain I live with ,by a lot.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Leo Smith
October 11, 2020 8:32 pm

“In Soviet Union, immune system attacks you!”

– Yakov Smirnoff

Joel O'Bryan
October 10, 2020 11:43 pm

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
– attributed to multiple 19th Century writers, including Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain)

That lesson applies to most things in life, most assuredly the settled science of climate change. One should of course add SARS-CoV-2 and the symptomatic sequelae, mask mandates, and the lockdowns to that list.

October 10, 2020 11:56 pm

Not necessarily briefly either.

I hurt in a few new places and a lot fewer older places.

I also have a couple deep-acne pores that have started producing wax again for the first time in more than a decade.

CovSa2 is a microbiological clusterbomb attack, it damages almost everything in your body and isn’t alive and doesn’t care. What it causes your body to do is rather random and insane.

It will inject it’s RNA load into other viruses, dead cells and doesn’t even care if what triggers it is a couple pieces of destroyed cell that just happen to bump into it correctly.

Reply to  Prjindigo
October 11, 2020 1:39 am

Are you sure it was cvd-19 that you had? I know people who have had cvd-19 and their symptoms were nothing more than a dribbley nose.

For all I know I’ve already had it myself and didn’t notice.

Reply to  Prjindigo
October 11, 2020 2:26 am

It’s extraordinary how a virus can supposedly do the most diabolical things to some people while most others hardly, or don’t, even notice its presence. The general consensus now is that the virus is not very cytotoxic, so I suspect the most logical and reasonable explanation for all of the virus’ supposed mythological powers is peoples’ state of health and mind.

Reply to  icisil
October 11, 2020 4:21 am

“ It’s extraordinary how a virus can supposedly do the most diabolical things to some people while most others hardly, or don’t, even notice its presence.”

This is what’s been bugging me: Is this unusual? How many other viruses show the same pattern? We only know this about nCoV because of how widespread the testing. We don’t do that with other viruses. We test people who are sick. But maybe asymptotic “cases” are far more common than we imagined.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Chute_me
October 11, 2020 4:57 am

Asymptotic cases would be those which approach reality, but never quite get there.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 11, 2020 6:01 am

Asymptotic covid. What a great name.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 11, 2020 6:08 am

Such exaggerated claims could be hyperbola.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 11, 2020 7:06 am

Trump now has asymptotic covid. His doctor said he’s no longer infectious, but the media will treat him like he’s dangerous forever. He can check out Hotel Covid anytime he wants, but he can never leave.

White House Doctor Says Trump No Longer At Risk Of Transmitting The Coronavirus

October 11, 2020 12:05 am

It’s just a bad flu. In a buried in a CDC document dated July 13, 2020 (at, on page 39, in a section titled “Performance Characteristics,” is this:

“Since no quantified virus isolates of the 2019-nCoV are currently available, assays [diagnostic tests] designed for detection of the 2019-nCoV RNA were tested with characterized stocks of in vitro transcribed full length RNA…”

Get that? “Since no quantified virus isolates of the 2019-nCoV are currently available,”…

What does that tell you?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  VicV
October 11, 2020 12:36 am

It tells an immunologist that the immune system is still active after a major respiratory viral infection. RNA viruses that really hit the naive immune system hard leave lasting effects. A collateral damage of all the things the body does to destroy a virus that invades multiple cells and multipole tissue sites. It is warfare where losing means death.

Be glad you are still alive and your body can recover. Eat well. Rest. Exercise as much as possible. Get sunshine. Your body’s molecular program will do the rest as it’s able to.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 11, 2020 6:16 am

I keep hearing in public service announcements that a seasonal rise is expected because we will spend more time inside inside with other people. The announcements say to social distance, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently.

It’s concerning that they don’t mention advice about diet, rest or exercise or sunshine.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Scissor
October 11, 2020 8:49 am

I live in Arizona, that no true, it seems to be that to hard for the US population and our so called experts to understand the US had at least two unique climates. On top of that Arizona has two season were people retreat indoors December January, then June July and August. People who put up three digit temps in the summer had a low tolerance for anything below 70 in the winter. Covid taught me in Arizona we really do have two flu seasons!

Reply to  VicV
October 11, 2020 5:01 am

That there is no such thing as this virus? LOL.

October 11, 2020 3:17 am

Not passing judgment on this research, but expect to see the same quality of science with covid that we see in climate science, i.e., breathtakingly bad. The history of medicine is replete with tragedy and failure, and this fiasco is no exception. Here’s an example that was key to spreading worldwide panic that caused many unnecessary deaths.

The WHO, based on consensus opinion from China, recommended early intubation (contrary to established medical practice that considered mechanical ventilation to be a last resort) out of concern for aerosolization of virus and consequent risk to healthcare workers (HCW). Most hospitals followed that guidance with disastrous results for numerous unfortunate patients. Studies, both recent and past (before covid), have shown that that risk is minimal to non-existent when using high flow oxygen modalities (like HFNC). Here’s a recent example (there are others):

Initial recommendations discouraged high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) in COVID-19 patients, driven by concern for healthcare worker (HCW) exposure. Noting high morbidity and mortality from early invasive mechanical ventilation, we implemented a COVID-19 respiratory protocol employing HFNC in severe COVID-19 and HCW exposed to COVID-19 patients on HFNC wore N95/KN95 masks.

We found no evidence of increased COVID-19 infections in HCW after the implementation of a respiratory protocol that increased use of HFNC in patients with COVID-19.

No evidence of increasing COVID-19 in health care workers after implementation of high flow nasal cannula: A safety evaluation

But this was known, at least, more than a decade earlier. This study done during the SARS outbreak ironically found intubation to be more risky (be sure to click on graphic to view table 2).

Meta-analysis of the risk of transmitting SARS to healthcare workers due to various interventions. Intubation and associated procedures carry the most risk. HFNC actually trended towards reduced risk of transmission. This suggests that using HFNC to avoid intubation might reduce transmission risk.

The incompetence of WHO is absolutely mind-boggling.

Reply to  icisil
October 11, 2020 6:18 am

They were just following orders from the CCP.

Reply to  icisil
October 11, 2020 6:38 am

Slightly off topic, but the WHO has decided that lockdowns are useless:

““We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Dr Nabarro told The Spectator.

“The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.””

Mark Luhman
Reply to  PaulH
October 11, 2020 8:52 am

As usual about six months late. Sound to me WHO is a typical bureaucracy. Slow and dumb.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Mark Luhman
October 11, 2020 9:43 am

I think I remember this from one of those old Abbot and Costello comedy routines.

Lou Costello: The incompetence of bureaucratic WHO? And WHO’s on first?

Bud Abbot: That’s right! The CDC’s on second and Fauci’s on third.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Doc Chuck
October 11, 2020 2:35 pm

And admittedly considerably funnier when referring to an implausible baseball team position lineup (although apparently our benefactor ‘Watts’ here was even then covering second base) than identifying ‘authoritative’ advisers counseling national leadership about a potentially lethal challenge to the citizenry having major implications for their conduct of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Reply to  icisil
October 11, 2020 6:47 am

Here’s the last-mentioned study, if anyone is interested (pdf). So not only did those who followed WHO recommendations unnecessarily expose vulnerable patients to a deadly procedure, they also created greater infection risk for their own HCWs.

Four cohort studies [25–27,29] showed that HCWs performing or being exposed to a tracheal intubation procedure had a higher risk of disease transmission compared with unexposed HCWs (Table 2).

Four case-control studies [20,21,23,24] identified that tracheal intubation was a significant risk factor for transmission of SARS to HCWs (Table 2).

Aerosol Generating Procedures and Risk of Transmission of Acute Respiratory Infections to Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review

Reply to  icisil
October 12, 2020 8:31 pm

“Intubation and associated procedures carry the most risk”

Not only that: these use very little time for workers (beside the initial procedure) but are very expensive in term of drugs; France depleted its stock of curare very fast. We were groomed into thinking that great cost meant terrible pandemic, but it meant terribly incompetent healthcare.

Tom in Florida
October 11, 2020 4:30 am

Well I guess having COVID-19 isn’t such a pain in the ass after all.

October 11, 2020 4:32 am

There are, at last count, 180 Covid-19 vaccines under development. I’m not kidding.

Here’s a very, very informative “tweetorial,” by an expert, which could be entitled, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Coronavirus Vaccines (*but were afraid to ask)”

Tweet #1:

Tweet #138 (the last tweet):

Whole thread, unrolled by ThreadReaderApp:
(Best format, if you block the ads, e.g., with uBlock Origin.)

Whole thread, unrolled by Rattibha:

Whole thread, unrolled by Threader:

It turns out that minks are at least as vulnerable to this disease as humans are. So perhaps minks should be used for animal testing of vaccines and other protective measures?

Mad Mac
October 11, 2020 5:17 am

Slightly off topic. I’m here in Albuquerque NM and yesterday was talking to a contract nurse working at a large clinic (starts with an L). He told me that it is disgustingly dirty with what he described as cheap equipment. He said that the majority of the population is native american from other locales. All suffer with other significant disease. He said that in house infection is the large problem. He is considering quitting his contract after being at the facility only a very short time.
Meanwhile highway signs are advising of a virus spike and always wear a mask. I wonder about the so called spike!

Reply to  Mad Mac
October 11, 2020 6:24 am

That reminds me of that sign that says, “Turn in your weapons, government will take care of you.”

John Furst
October 11, 2020 5:57 am

So, A couple of virus questions:
Can immunity build by being exposed a little at a time so ones immune system can keep up? ( so managing a slow exposure..assuming it is everywhere by now…could prevent or reduce the severity)
2. Is there a magnitude of viral load that will not overtake the immune system and a Threshold that does quickly infect? (Perhaps quantifiable differences for healthy, younger or by various comorbidities)
Implication is that we each could improve and manage the risks of exposure…and not be afraid to get back to a cautioned normal.
Any expert opinions?

Reply to  John Furst
October 11, 2020 9:31 am

In animal studies of pathogens they sometimes give a range of pathogen doses. From this comes the notion of trying to reduce the initial viral load. However, most of those studies are of bacteria, bacterial toxins and parasites. It seems to me with viruses that host suseptability is by far the most important factor because once any viral replication starts, it is in a different ballpark from the replication of those much larger organisms. In the latter case, some hosts will be able to activate defensive mechanisms sufficient to halt the infection as it is trying to get established. The virus produces numerous progeny from the first replicative cycle. Also, given the statements about the literally billions shed by a shedder, it seems unlikely that anyone in any close contact – down wind in a restaurant or in the same home – would not gets lots and lots of viral particles.

The above certainly applied to smallpox transmission in a village. I saw one of the last epidemics in India when I was 17. It swept from house to house in the villages, picking off all the unvaccinated who were almost all children under 12. I particularly remember 10 y/o girl who was kept back from the vaccinator so she could look after her two young brothers if they got sick from the vaccine. She was lying on a string cot in a dark little room in a mud hut. Every inch of her body had erupted. My mom had trouble finding a place to inject pennicillin in the unlikely event she made it to the stage when secondary infections might be an issue. She died that night.

The importance of the host was very obvious when my two brothers and I ate forbidden sweets in the bazaar and drank water away from home. Only one of the boys got a ‘runny tummy’ with monotonous regularity. It is possible that giardia or amoeba could have been cultured from our stools as well, at least for some period of time, but we were not ‘cases’ and not treated.

October 11, 2020 6:15 am

So…Should we praise God for Hs creation or humans for engineering this miraculous disease that seems to do good and bad, and mimics the symptoms of virtually every other ailment?

Danley Wolfe
October 11, 2020 1:11 pm

I am running Windows 10 with Defender firewall and Malwarebytes antimalware/antivirus. Every time I open my protection goes nuts. I have set an exclusion for but still flags it time and time again.

October 11, 2020 3:31 pm

That’s Khanna!
Excellent research finding anecdotal evidence for something similar to a placebo effect or the technique used by illusionists.
Who would have thought people with chronic pain could be distracted by something else?

October 11, 2020 10:48 pm

This is also anecdotal. When I had the big C I had plenty of pain. It felt like someone had scrubbed my lungs with a wire brush. I don’t have chronic pain issues so I cant speak to that.

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