Autoimmune diseases affect about 10% of the world’s population. Their induction is due to a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors that affect the functioning of the immune system through various mechanisms. Among these environmental factors are infectious pathogens, which may not only assault and weaken the body and the immune system but which could also induce autoimmunity through the molecular mimicry between the pathogenic viruses and many human tissues. This mimicry could cause an immune reaction in which antibodies
produced against viral antigens may also attack the body’s own tissues. Subsequent viral infections are thought to cause exacerbation of the disease by further activating the immune response against viral and self-antigens. Three viruses, in particular, have been identified as the major players and contributors to inflammation and autoimmune disorders:
severe acute respiratory syndrome
coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and human
herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6).