Long covid associated with ongoing inflammation in blood

A recent study involving nearly 700 individuals who developed long covid after being hospitalized with severe covid-19 has found elevated levels of inflammatory immune molecules compared to those who fully recovered after hospitalization. The study, conducted by researchers at Imperial College London, suggests that the ongoing immune responses may be causing the symptoms of long covid. This has led to speculation about the potential for using approved treatments that target these responses in other conditions to treat long covid.

However, it is important to note that the findings may not apply to individuals who develop long covid after milder SARS-CoV-2 infections that do not require hospitalization. Additionally, there is uncertainty about whether the immune responses are due to persistent infection with SARS-CoV-2 or the activation of dormant viruses in the body.

The study also identified patterns of immune activation that corresponded with the main types of symptoms reported by individuals with long covid, including fatigue, cognitive impairment, anxiety and depression, cardiorespiratory symptoms, and gastrointestinal symptoms. While these findings may not aid in diagnosing long covid, they could potentially help determine the type of long covid a person has and guide interventions.

Overall, the study highlights the complexity of long covid and the need for further research to understand the underlying mechanisms and potential treatments. As Kevin McConway from the Open University in the UK pointed out, there are still unanswered questions about the origins of the differences in blood protein levels and their relationship to symptoms. Despite the ongoing challenges, the study underscores the significant impact of long covid on individuals, with millions still experiencing its effects in Europe alone.


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