Ethnicity and the relationship between covid-19 and the herpes simplex viruses

Med Hypotheses. 2021 Jan;146:110447. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.110447. Epub 2020 Dec 10.


The pathogen burden, defined by the frequency of antibodies to several viruses and a parasite, is greater in Hispanic whites and black populations than it is in non-Hispanic whites, in the USA. The poor and those without higher education also have higher pathogen burdens. The most frequent pathogen that was measured, was the Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). This virus can inactivate most of the elements in the immune system, that are designed to protect against the incursions of viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. HSV-1 can also damage the blood brain barrier (BBB), which prevents the entry of pathogens into the central nervous system. Without the help of HSV-1, the COVID-19 virus may not be able to cause serious illness or death in humans. A prophylactic treatment to contain HSV-1, could be vital in the fight against COVID-19.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Herpes Simplex / epidemiology*
  • Herpes Simplex / prevention & control
  • Herpes Simplex / virology
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Host Microbial Interactions
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity
  • United States / epidemiology