Dormant viruses activate during space flight

Tests showed that dormant herpesviruses reactivated in more than half of the astronauts who were in space. According to NASA, this could pose serious problems for long-term manned space missions.

According to a NASA study published in „Frontiers in Microbiology”, Herpesviruses reactivate in more than half of astronautsoin those staying aboard the International Space Station. According to the results of the study, the reactivation rates of virusesow increase with the length of the mission and can pose serious health risks in long-duration space missions, such as the planned mission to Mars.

Harpesviruses are a family of virusesoin, whichora contains more than 100 species ofow. These are common viruses in animals and humans. The best known of these is the herpes simplex virus HHV-1 and HHV-2.

– During the flightoin space increase hormone secretionoin stress, such as cortisol and adrenaline, o whichowhich are known to suppress the immune system. Accordingly, we conclude that comoastronaut immune rkioin, especially those thatore they normally eliminate viruses, they become less effective during flightoin space, sometimes up to 60 days after returning to Earth – explained by Dr. Satish K. Mehta of KBR Wyle Laboratories at the Johnson Space Center.

– NASA astronauts spend weeks or even months in an environment of microgravity and cosmic radiation, not to mention the extreme overloads during flightoin space – Mehta said. – This physical challenge is compounded by stressors such as social separation or an altered diurnal cycle – He admitted and added that the cause of the reactivation virusow may be the stress of spaceflight.

To study the physiological impact of the flight ofoin spaceflight, Mehta and colleagues performed an analysis of probek of saliva, blood and urine taken from astronautsoin before, during and after their stay in space.

As studies have shown, reactivations of herpesvirusow proThe saliva and urine samples have been spotted among theod 47 of 89 (53 percent.) astronautow whooThose who have held krotic space shuttle flights and amongod 14 of 23 (61 percent.) from longer missions to the International Space Station. – The frequencies as rownie┼╝ amount of virus excretionow are much higher while in space than what we see in probkach taken before or after spaceflight – noted Mehta.

OgoFour of the human herpseviruses have been detectedow. These are the strains responsible for oral and genital herpes (HSV), chickenpox and poHerpesvirus (VZV) – ktore remain throughout life in our comonerve tissues. Found roalso CMV and EBV viruses associated with mononucleosis.

So far, the increased viral activity is usually asymptomatic. Only six astronautsow developed any symptoms due to reactivation of the virus, and all were minor.

However, these viruses during long spaceflight can pose a serious threat to astronautsow. Therefore, manned space exploration may depend on effective prevention and treatment. Development of meansoin remedies may be crucial to the success of these space missions.

– The ideal measure seems to be the vaccination of astronautsow, however, so far we only have a vaccine for VZV. Vaccine tests against other herpesviruses do not show promising resultsow, so our current goal is to develop a targeted regimen ofoin treatment for waspob suffering from the consequences of the reactivation of the virus – said Mehta.

– The research is of great clinical significance roalso for patientow on Earth. Developed by a scientistoin spaceflight-related rapid virus detection technologiesoin saliva have been used in clinics and hospitals around the world – emphasized the scientist.