A few days before the first lockdown in the UK in March 2020, Claire Hastie contracted Covid-19. 16 months later, she was still suffering from the aftereffects of the disease, and at her lowest point, she was worried that she would be killed.
Hasti is 48 years old and has been unable to engage in corporate communications full-time. She recalled: “I told one of my sons that if I don’t wake up, I will live a good life. I tried to make it easy. I said I would trouble him… I must mobilize all my energy and write down some dying wishes I shared with my mother and sister.”
Although her oxygen level did not drop enough to be admitted to the hospital, she still experienced a series of debilitating symptoms, from shortness of breath to cognitive impairment. This is a painful daily reminder that even with so much progress in controlling the disease itself, “long-term Covid” still ignores scientists’ attempts to treat the syndrome and unravel its causes.
Hastie created a long-term Covid support group on Facebook. To date, the organization has attracted 42,000 members from more than 100 countries. She said that her three sons also contracted the disease after contracting the new coronavirus from her last year. The youngest two-12-year-old twins-still often miss school due to stomach problems.
As the UK and other countries face a new wave of epidemics, scientists are scrambling to find out the cause of long-term Covid. They worry that even if vaccination can curb deaths and hospitalizations from the disease, lifting restrictions may expose more people In long-term diseases.
In India-recently suffered The ferocious Covid wave -Frontline doctors have seen an upward trend in long-term cases of the new coronavirus, and many private and public hospitals are opening special “post-new coronavirus centers” to provide treatment and support.
Dr. Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, estimates that 40% to 60% of hospitalized Covid patients in India continue to be ill for up to 12 weeks. Among them, 10% to 15% are still struggling with “classic” long-term Covid illnesses after three months, such as dyspnea, joint pain, brain fog and chronic fatigue.
Guleria said that Indian hospitals are conducting various studies on long-term Covid, including whether specific biomarkers can predict which patients are at risk when discharged, and whether traditional yoga may be an effective treatment. The government is also studying how to treat chronic Covid in rural areas, which has been hit hard by the recent wave.
In the United States, the non-profit organization FAIR Health studied the private healthcare claim records of nearly 2 million Covid-19 patients and found that nearly a quarter of the patients had at least a post-Covid disease.
The number of people infected with Covid still has symptoms after 12 weeks
According to a React study conducted by Imperial College London, in the UK, nearly 38% of people infected with Covid-19 are still coping with one or more symptoms after 12 weeks.
Dr. Toby Hillman became an expert on the syndrome after establishing one of the first long-term Covid treatment centers in the NHS at University College Hospital London in May 2020. He said the service has now treated approximately 1,700 people. He added that most of the people receiving treatment are in their 30s, 40s or 50s, and they were in good health before. This is different from the stereotype that Covid causes the most problems for elderly patients with existing diseases.
It was initially led by a respiratory physician, but as various symptoms increased, experts in cardiology, neurology, otolaryngology, and dermatology joined the battle.
Hillman added: “It has become a completely cross-domain, multi-specialty, and multi-system disease. At present, it cannot be described clearly.”
An international study of 3,700 “long-distance transporters” from 56 countries led by University College London showed that the situation is surprisingly diverse. Patients reported more than 200 symptoms in 10 organ systems.
UCL neuroscientist Athena Akrami, leader of a study published in The Lancet Clinical medicine, It is said that there may be “tens of thousands of long-term Covid patients suffering in silence”, not sure whether their symptoms are related to Covid-19. She called for a nationwide community-level plan to “screen, diagnose and treat all people suspected of having long-term Covid symptoms.”
Both the National Institutes of Health and the National Institutes of Health will announce new research contracts soon.
“In the information vacuum, this is caused by the long-term Covid, and false hopes have increased dramatically. As to why, there are more theories that you cannot shake [it],” Hillman said.
The root causes and different performance of long-term Covid have also puzzled American scientists. “The growth of the new crown virus is a mystery,” said Michael Sage, associate dean of global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “One of the tasks is to reach agreement and consolidate case definitions, some of which will also help raise awareness.”
One promising avenue being explored is that long-term Covid is an autoimmune disease-Hillman said, patients themselves have long suspected this. He said that recent work at Imperial College London showed that “the body begins to recognize its own protein as something from the outside and begins to defend itself.”
Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said that his laboratory is working hard to find autoantibodies related to the new coronavirus that can be used for diagnosis, but he does not want to talk about the details. “I don’t understand why we can’t use it for diagnostic testing within six months,” he said.
At the same time, in the United States, researchers at Yale University have focused on determining the causes of breathing problems such as dyspnea and chest pain, which may occur several weeks after the initial infection with the new coronavirus.
They found three proteins in blood samples that are related to long-term lung function impairment. Hyung Chun, co-director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Yale University, said that these proteins have previously been associated with severe coronavirus diseases, and interestingly, they have been detected at elevated levels in long-term Covid patients. “There does not seem to be a universal mechanism to drive these symptoms. This is something we are all actively investigating,” he said.
Even if they step up their efforts to understand this situation, scientists on both sides of the Atlantic are still anxious about the long-term surge in Covid cases caused by the premature removal of coronavirus restrictions. Nisreen Alwan, an associate professor of public health at the University of Southampton, experienced long-term symptoms after contracting the virus last year. She pointed out that the hospitalization rate and death rate were often displayed at the press conference on the 10th to explain the government’s thinking, but it has never been shown for a long time. Covid data.
Some people worry that this syndrome may be polio of this generation-recalling an infectious disease that has plagued the world for decades and caused lifelong problems for survivors.
Although Hillman believes that the long-term Covid will be small, the impact on society will also be far-reaching. “I think the degree of damage that people experience, in the case of long-term Covid, you can compare with some damage that people have with polio… We are talking about young people in their 30s, 40s and 50s People. These people have families, they are teachers, they are bus drivers… Many of them are really hard to return to full-time work, or in some cases even unable to return to work at all. This is in six or nine Months later.”