“Long COVID,” or COVID-19 symptoms remaining six months after an initial infection, remains very much a mystery.
Despite research over the last two years, the chances of COVID-19 patients developing long COVID range from less than 5% in some studies to nearly 60%.
Making the disorder more difficult to pin down is evidence pointing to long COVID as not one disease, but a grouping of two or more developing as patients attempt to recover. Severe illness during an initial bout puts patients greater risk due to respiratory scarring, greater lung damage, and other results of severe inflammation. This inflammation can damage the heart muscle (myocarditis), and can spread to the brain where some patients lose their sense of smell, some permanently.
The long COVID results, even after testing negative, are patients with permanent breathing issues, severe fatigue, heart issues and “brain fog.” For patients that are hospitalized, data is showing the long COVID risk jumps to around 50%.
A blood test for long COVID?
But a new study is showing that a blood test could be in the works to determine patients who would be at risk for long COVID.
A study published this week in the journal Nature Communications determined that patients who have developed long COVID have lower levels of certain antibodies in their blood after they contract COVID-19. Larger studies will be conducted to determine how to test for patients who are at risk for long COVID.
“We want to be able to recognize and identify, as early as possible, who is at risk of developing long COVID,” said Dr. Onur Boyman, an author of the study and a researcher in the department of immunology at University Hospital Zurich.
The study was 75% accurate in predicting patients who would suffer from long COVID through antibody levels and other factors such as age or history of asthma or severe allergies.
To read more go to news.yahoo.com/long-covid-study-may-offer-053310905.html.