When talking of Covid 19, people have serious doubts such as who is more prone to the deadly virus? Is it that some people are more likely than others to experience physical, neurological symptoms that could linger for montrhs even after the infection.
Well, a group of researchers concluded in a new study four factors that could be identified early in a person’s COVID 19 infection that appeared to correlate with increased risk of having lasting symptoms weeks later.
The researchers arrived at these factors after follow more than 200 patients for two to three months after their Covid diagnoses. The Journal Cell published the study.
The researchers were confident that their findings would pave for way to prevent or treat some cases of long Covid, including the possibility of giving people antiviral medications soon after an infection has been diagnosed. However, they said that the findings were exploratory and needed verification through more research.
- Pre-existing Type 2 diabetes
- SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels in the blood
- Epstein-Barr virus DNA levels in the blood
- The presence of specific autoantibodies
Principal investigator of the study Jim Heath noted that the findings showed the importance of early measurements in the disease course to figure out how to treat patients.
Heath is also president of the Institute for Systems Biology, a nonprofit biomedical research organization in Seattle.
Stating that measuring something may be lead to doing something, Heath said “identifying these PASC factors is a major step forward for not only understanding long COVID and potentially treating it, but also which patients are at highest risk for the development of chronic conditions.”
The primary group of patients included 209 people, aged 18 to 89, who were infected with the coronavirus during 2020 or early 2021 and were seen at Swedish Medical Center or an affiliated clinic. They analyzed blood and nasal swabs when patients were diagnosed, during the acute phase of their infections and two to three months later.
They surveyed the patients about 20 symptoms associated with long Covid, including fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath, and corroborated those reports with electronic health records.
The researchers found that 37 percent of the patients reported three or more symptoms of long Covid two or three months after the infection. They noted that 24 percent reported one or two symptoms, and 39 percent reported no symptoms. Ninety five per cent of the patients who reported three or more symptoms had one or more of the four biological factors identified in the study.
Heath said that the most influential factor appeared to be autoantibodies, which were associated with two-thirds of the cases of long Covid. Each of the other three factors showed up in about a third of the cases, he said.