BananaResearcher t1_jdllrpa wrote

From the authors, my emphasis

>Epigenetic alteration is known to exert long-term effects on gene expression and phenotypes37,38. Given the increasingly realized high incidence of post-acute SARS-CoV-2 sequelae (long COVID39), understanding the viral impacts on host chromatin and epigenome will not only provide new strategies to fight SARS-CoV-2 in the acute phase, but also pave the way for unravelling the molecular basis of long COVID for its intervention.


BananaResearcher t1_jdlku8r wrote

Lots of viruses make use of the host's DNA for their own purposes. This study looked at how SARS-CoV-2 affected host DNA, on a large scale. [more in-depth: DNA is a giant, giant molecule. It's so big that its overall organization itself is really important and affects all kinds of things. A very simple example is that expression of a certain gene may rely on activation of a region on the DNA that is, in 1-dimension, extremely far away. But just like you can loop a rope back on itself to bring two points close together, these points can be extremely far in 1 dimension (along the DNA chain) but right next to each other in 3 dimensions.] This study found that SARS-CoV-2 does indeed modify infected cells' DNA on large scales, and this is important not just for acute infection but can cause lasting impacts after the infection is cleared.

ELI5: The virus bends the DNA around so the cell can't fight the virus as effectively