Acupuncture, derived from traditional Chinese medicine, could help in the treatment of pathologies linked to Covid-19, as experiments on animals have shown.
By Jean-Marc Sabatier *
During a viral infection, the SARS-CoV-2 virus induces dysfunction of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) by binding to the ACE2 receptor of target cells. This dysfunction of the RAS induced by the virus (or even by the vaccine spike protein) results in the overactivation of its deleterious receptor AT1R present on many organs and tissues.
The overactivated AT1R receptor is responsible for Covid-19 diseases via its pro-hypertensive, pro-inflammatory, pro-oxidant, pro-thrombotic, pro-angiogenic, pro-fibrotic, pro-hypertrophic, and production inhibition activities. of nitric oxide.
During the overactivation of the SRA and its AT1R receptor, we observe in particular a strong production of renin (it transforms angiotensinogen into angiotensin-1 which is the precursor of angiotensin-2), an excess of angiotensin-2 ( which overactivates the RAS and the AT1R receptor), a release of aldosterone (via excess angiotensin-2).
Excess angiotensin-2 leads to activation of the sympathetic nervous system which controls the body’s “automatic” activities (heart rate/breathing, blood circulation, digestion and elimination of waste, smooth muscle contraction, etc.) and the functioning of organs (kidneys, digestive system, etc.). Chemical mediators of this system, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, allow precise control of these functions.
Activation of the sympathetic nervous system may be accompanied by cardiac (tachycardia) or intestinal disorders, hypertension/vasoconstriction of blood vessels, dilation of the bladder and/or bronchi, increased sweating , release of glucose from the liver, additional secretion of adrenaline and noradrenaline from the adrenal glands, and others.
Acupuncture in animals
Surprisingly enough, it was demonstrated experimentally in animals that acupuncture (this is an empirical method of care based on the use of needles stimulating precise points of the skin), or low frequency electro-acupuncture from 2 to 30 Hz (this is a variant of acupuncture allowing the delivery of weak percutaneous electric currents), even moxibustion (it consists of stimulating an acupuncture point via heat using moxas), was capable of acting on hypertension and the metabolic homeostasis of many key molecules involved directly or indirectly in ARS and Covid-19 diseases (for example: renin, angiotensin-2, aldosterone, endothelin-1, nitric oxide , dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, enkephalins/endorphins, etc.).
These data suggest that acupuncture – an ancestral technique from traditional Chinese medicine – could be an approach of interest for the treatment or the potential relief of pathologies linked to Covid-19, and more particularly to long Covid.
*Jean-Marc Sabatier is research director at the CNRS and doctor in Cellular Biology and Microbiology. Editor-in-Chief of international scientific journals: “Coronaviruses” and “Infectious Disorders – Drug Targets”. He speaks here in his own name.