Can COVID-19 cause an autoimmune disease?

Author: Jeanette Kulas  |  Last update: Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Common question

Can COVID-19 cause an autoimmune disease?

Widespread and long-term inflammation during severe COVID-19 may cause the immune system to produce antibodies to pieces of the virus it wouldn't normally recognize. Some of those pieces might resemble human proteins enough to trigger the production of autoantibodies.

Are people with autoimmune diseases considered high risk for COVID-19?


Researchers have reported higher rates of severe COVID-19 and death in people with autoimmune disease than in the general population. It is unclear whether this is attributable to the autoimmune disease, the immunosuppressive medications taken to treat it, or both.

What are some of the potential long-term effects of COVID-19?


Known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), or more commonly as Long COVID, these conditions affect all ages. Long-term effects include fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, sleep disorders, fevers, anxiety and depression.

What are some of the lingering side effects of COVID-19?

A full year has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the mind-boggling aftermath of the virus continues to confuse doctors and scientists. Particularly concerning for doctors and patients alike are lingering side effects, such as memory loss, reduced attention and an inability to think straight.

Can COVID-19 damage organs?

UCLA researchers are the first to create a version of COVID-19 in mice that shows how the disease damages organs other than the lungs. Using their model, the scientists discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can shut down energy production in cells of the heart, kidneys, spleen and other organs.

New Covid Symptom Appears Only In Vaccinated People, Identified In UK Study

What are the organs most affected by COVID‐19?

The lungs are the organs most affected by COVID‐19

Which organ system is most often affected by COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 that can trigger what doctors call a respiratory tract infection. It can affect your upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, and throat) or lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs).

What are some of the common symptoms of the COVID-19 disease?

Symptoms may include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath; fatigue; muscle and body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea.

How long does the post-COVID condition last?

Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

What are some neurological long-term side effects of COVID-19 after recovery?

A variety of neurological health complications have been shown to persist in some patients who recover from COVID-19. Some patients who recover from their illness may continue to experience neuropsychiatric issues, including fatigue, 'fuzzy brain,' or confusion.

Are there any long-term effects of COVID-19 vaccine?

Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose.

What are symptoms of COVID-19 affecting the lungs?

Some people may feel short of breath. People with chronic heart, lung, and blood diseases may be at risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, including pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, and acute respiratory failure.

What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.

Should you get the Covid vaccine if you have an autoimmune disease?

The American College of Rheumatology COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Guidance recommends that people with autoimmune and inflammatory rheumatic disease (which includes lupus) get the vaccine unless they have an allergy to an ingredient in the vaccine.

Can taking immunosuppressants increase my chances of getting COVID-19?

And medicines called immunosuppressants may make you more likely to have serious complications from the virus, as can your autoimmune disorder itself

Are rheumatoid arthritis patients more at risk of getting COVID-19?

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you're more likely to get certain infections. That means you may have a higher chance of getting COVID-19. If you do get sick, your symptoms could be more serious than someone who doesn't have RA. Some medicines you take might also make infections more likely.

How long can a patient still feel the effects of COVID-19 after recovery?

Older people and people with many serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience lingering COVID-19 symptoms, but even young, otherwise healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection.

What are post-COVID conditions?

Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

What are some of the symptoms of Post-acute sequelae from COVID-19?

Those suffering from post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 frequently have difficulty concentrating and memory problems, sometimes called “brain fog.” This impairment is a common symptom in those with severe fatigue of any cause.

What are the most common symptoms for COVID-19 among those not hospitalized?

Fatigue, headache, and muscle aches (myalgia) are among the most commonly reported symptoms in people who are not hospitalized, and sore throat and nasal congestion or runny nose (rhinorrhea) also may be prominent symptoms.

When do symptoms of the coronavirus disease typically start?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

What can I do to reduce the COVID-19 symptoms if I only have a mild disease?

Some of the same things you do to feel better if you have the flu — getting enough rest, staying well hydrated, and taking medications to relieve fever and aches and pains — also help with COVID-19.

How does the coronavirus affect our body?

Coronavirus enters the body through the nose, mouth or eyes. Once inside the body, it goes inside healthy cells and uses the machinery in those cells to make more virus particles. When the cell is full of viruses, it breaks open. This causes the cell to die and the virus particles can go on to infect more cells.

Can I still have sex during the coronavirus pandemic?

If both of you are healthy and feeling well, are practicing social distancing and have had no known exposure to anyone with COVID-19, touching, hugging, kissing, and sex are more likely to be safe.

Does COVID-19 cause gastrointestinal symptoms?

Although respiratory symptoms predominate the clinical manifestations of COVID-19, gastrointestinal symptoms have been observed in a subset of patients. Notably, some patients have nausea/vomiting as the first clinical manifestation of COVID-19, which is often overlooked by people.

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