Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital and Yale University have announced that they have identified specific blood biomarkers that can accurately identify long Covid. This breakthrough discovery has allowed them to create an algorithm that can determine whether a patient is suffering from the lingering effects of Covid-19. The study, published in the journal Nature, analyzed 271 patients from Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Union Square, and the Yale School of Medicine between January 2021 and June 2022.
The researchers divided the patients into three groups: those who had never had Covid-19, those who had fully recovered from a confirmed case, and those experiencing active long Covid symptoms at least four months after their initial infection. By analyzing the similarities and differences in biomarkers among these groups, they were able to create an algorithm that accurately predicted which patients had long Covid with 96% accuracy.
The study revealed that long Covid patients have clear immune and hormonal differences compared to those without the condition. Abnormal T cell activity, reactivation of multiple latent viruses, and reductions in cortisol levels were identified as the biggest factors contributing to the development of long Covid.
Lead investigator David Putrino believes that these findings can lead to more sensitive testing for long Covid patients and personalized treatments that have a scientific rationale. However, he acknowledges that there is no "silver bullet" for treating long Covid due to its complexity.
Long Covid is a condition that occurs when patients continue to experience symptoms and after-effects of Covid-19, such as brain fog or difficulty exercising, long after the initial infection. This study represents a significant step forward in understanding the condition, as doctors still know very little about long Covid.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June, approximately 7.5% of the entire U.S. adult population was experiencing long Covid symptoms, regardless of whether they had been infected or not. Among patients who had previously had Covid-19, the number rises to one in five.
As health experts fear a potential new wave of the virus this fall, this study serves as a timely reminder of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and the importance of continued research and understanding of long Covid.