Studies offer new pieces to the long-term Covid symptoms puzzle

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There is no test for Covid long. There are no specific medications to take or exercises to relieve your symptoms. There is no consensus on the duration of the symptoms of the disease, and some doctors even doubt that it is real.

However, with large numbers of people having Covid-19 and estimates ranging from 7.7 million to 23 million Covid patients in the United States alone, researchers say there is potential to be “the next public health disaster in the making.” ”.

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The administration of President Joe Biden released two reports this week to begin a management-wide effort to prevent, detect and treat Covid-19. Two new studies also try to piece together some of the small pieces of the Covid-19 puzzle.

Biden’s long Covid agenda

President Joe Biden said in April that long-term Covid was a priority for his administration and commissioned two reports: one that sets out a research agenda for the country and another that outlines the federally funded services and supports available to people in the U.S. with long covid. A total of 14 government departments and agencies worked together to create these new long-term plans for the disease.

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“A national, coordinated, action-oriented, nationwide approach is urgently needed,” the report says.

The plan proposes a new office for Covid Long within the Department of Health and Human Services, but does not offer details on how to finance or hire the office.

The plan also calls for more federal investment and calls for the private sector to do more. It builds on existing government research with the aim of accelerating and expanding it.

“These initial reports are an important step as HHS [Departamento de Saúde e Serviços Humanos dos Estados Unidos] continues to accelerate research and programmatic support to address the aftermath of the pandemic and work across sectors to ensure that no one is left behind as we continue to build a healthier future,” says the HHS.

Risks of serious problems for children

Last week, more than 14 million children in the United States tested positive for Covid-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. But it is unclear how many had long Covid.

A study published in July estimated that fewer children have the condition than adults: 5% to 10% of children who have had Covid. Other researchers say they believe the number is much higher: about 26% of children who have had the infection.

Children typically have some of the same symptoms of Covid-19 as adults — including breathing problems, changes in taste and smell, mental confusion, anxiety, depression, fatigue and sleep disturbances — but they can also have serious problems involving their organs.

One new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that children with long-term Covid have a much greater chance of serious lung, heart, kidney and pancreas problems than children who have not contracted the virus.

For the study, CDC researchers define long-term Covid as involving symptoms four or more weeks after diagnosis.

They used a large database of medical information to search for 15 long-term Covid conditions among 781,419 children and adolescents who had a confirmed case of Covid-19.

The study, published Thursday, found that children with long-term Covid had higher rates of acute pulmonary embolism or blockage in the lung that can cause sudden shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain, palpitations and dizziness.

They also had a higher rate of potentially serious heart conditions such as myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle that can cause rapid or irregular heartbeats, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and body aches.

They had a higher rate of cardiomyopathy, a condition that makes it difficult for the heart muscle to supply blood to the body and, in extreme cases, can lead to heart failure. Children with long-term Covid also had a higher chance of kidney failure and were more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.

All of these conditions are rare or uncommon in this age group, says the CDC.

At the beginning of the pandemic, people believed that Covid-19 was not so serious for children. Unlike other respiratory viruses, children often have less severe symptoms than adults, some studies show, but this is not always the case.

Researcher Amy Edwards, associate medical director for pediatric infection control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, said she has seen children with more severe symptoms such as myocarditis and cardiomyopathy, as well as some blood clotting problems.

“It’s good to see evidence here that children experience long-term symptoms of Covid,” said Edwards, who was not involved in the study.

Edwards says he would like researchers to distinguish between long-term Covid and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition that can also arise in a case of Covid-19 and causes similar symptoms in the same window. time. But any study that raises awareness of long-term Covid could help, she said.

Several patients came to her after other doctors ruled out the severity of her symptoms, she said. And she worries about children whose caregivers don’t know how to get the extra help from a doctor or Covid clinic that they may need to get better.

“These are the kids that keep me up at night. I care about these kids,” Amy said.

The CDC researchers say they hope their study will encourage caregivers to vaccinate children and watch for these serious symptoms and conditions among children who contract Covid-19.

“Covid-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination for all fit children and adolescents, are essential to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent illnesses, including post-Covid symptoms and conditions,” the study said.

12.7% of infections can lead to long Covid

Another large new study on long-term Covid revealed that 1 in 8 adults with the disease may experience symptoms months after the initial infection. The survey results were advanced by the CNN this Thursday.

The study, published in The Lancet Magazinepointed out that 12.7% of people with Covid-19 had new or severely increased symptoms at least three months after their initial diagnosis, a lower percentage than some other surveys have suggested.

The researchers interviewed 4,231 people who had Covid-19 and 8,462 who didn’t. They followed participants through questionnaires completed 24 times between March 2020 and August 2021 and compared the two groups.

The researchers asked about 23 symptoms, and fatigue and shortness of breath were the most common. Many people have also reported chest pain.

Limitations of the study include that it was done in the Netherlands and did not include an ethnically diverse population. Most of the data was collected before vaccines were available, and some studies suggest that vaccination can help protect against Covid-19.

The research was also carried out before the dominance of the Ômicron coronavirus variant, so it is unclear whether the results would be the same in people infected with later strains.

The researchers say scientists must do more to determine how long Covid lasts and how many people contract the disease, as well as how to treat or even prevent it.

“Research has been hampered by the lack of consensus on the prevalence and nature of the post-Covid-19 condition,” the study says.

“There is an urgent need for empirical data informing the scale and scope of the problem to support the development of an adequate health response.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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