Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Researchers studying treatment, due to long-term covid-19

Dear Doctors: When are long term COVID treatments going to be available? I had COVID-19 early on, when there was no test for it yet, and I never really recovered. Is long term COVID still happening to people who are getting sick right now?

Dear reader: As many of you know by now, the term “long COVID” refers to the ongoing and often debilitating physical symptoms that continue for weeks or months after someone has recovered from their initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. lives. Nearly two years into the pandemic, around 250 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Data shows that at least a third and up to half of them survive symptoms that persist for at least six months. These include prolonged loss of the sense of taste and smell, persistent cough, chest congestion, muscle aches, weakness, running or pounding heart, difficulty concentrating, and profound tiredness. An increasing number of people with chronic COVID-19 force themselves to reduce their daily activities or quit their jobs because the collection of symptoms interferes with their ability to function. At the beginning of the pandemic, the long COVID appeared in an outsized form. However, it is now a known part of the disease process.

It is still not clear what causes prolonged COVID. It affects people of all ages, including children, and occurs even in those whose initial illness was mild. One theory that emerged early was that fragments of the virus could remain in the body, triggering an immune response to fight a threat that is no longer there. Another plausible idea is that SARS-CoV-2 infection suppresses the immune system itself, much like an autoimmune disease does.

Recently, scientists from Yale University and the University of California, San Francisco have uncovered what they believe to be promising clues to what is happening. Studying the blood of patients with chronic COVID-19, researchers have identified abnormally high levels of compounds known as cytokines. These are small proteins secreted by certain immune cells whose main function is to control inflammation. Depending on the specific type – proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines occur – they play a role in increasing or decreasing inflammation. Findings in chronic COVID patients suggest that the immune system is keeping their bodies in a state of chronic inflammation. Researchers’ blood analysis found abnormal activity in key immune system “attack” cells, such as T-cells. This supports the scenario of virus particles living in the body of patients with long COVID.

While there is no known cure for long-term COVID at this time, intensive research is underway. Scientists are looking for antiviral drugs to clear the virus or virus particles from the body. The use of immunosuppressant drugs to manage inflammation is also being explored. For now, however, treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach to reduce and manage each patient’s unique symptoms. This includes experts in neurology, cardiology and pulmonology, as well as emotional and mental health support that can help patients endure the long COVID marathon.


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