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Coronavirus: A major program to study Long COVID in progress

After almost a year of fighting COVID-19 symptoms, long term implications of the deadly virus have become a source of major concern in recent times. Post-COVID syndrome or long COVID, as it’s popularly known as, has become a reigning issue that has grabbed the attention of various medical experts from different parts of the world.

According to recent reports, US National Institute of Health (NIH) have announced their initiative to study the long term effects of COVID-19 and aims to develop possible treatments for the same.

While a large population in and around the world continue to tackle the lingering symptoms of COVID-19, extensive study and research is surely a positive step to unearthing the possible dangers of medical complications in long haulers.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, Director of National Institutes of Health has said, “Large numbers of patients who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 continue to experience a constellation of symptoms long past the time that they’ve recovered from the initial stages of COVID-19 illness.”

“We do not know yet the magnitude of the problem, but given the number of individuals of all ages who have been or will be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the public health impact could be profound,” he added.

The focus of the study

As per the reports, the study will focus on answering some of the most common yet unresolved questions pertaining to long COVID. NIH has listed some of the initial underlying questions that their initiative hopes to answer. They are as follows:

– What does the spectrum of recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection look like across the population?

– How many people continue to have symptoms of COVID-19, or even develop new symptoms, after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection?

– What is the underlying biological cause of these prolonged symptoms?

– What makes some people vulnerable to this but not others?

– Does SARS-CoV-2 infection trigger changes in the body that increase the risk of other conditions, such as chronic heart or brain disorders?

Symptoms of long COVID, as per NIH

According to NIH, “Often referred to as “Long Covid,” these symptoms, which can include fatigue, shortness of breath, “brain fog,” sleep disorders, fevers, gastrointestinal symptoms, anxiety, and depression, can persist for months and can range from mild to incapacitating.”

It also refers to some new symptoms that arise after the infection and mutate over time.

“While still being defined, these effects can be collectively referred to as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” said NIH Director Francis Collins.

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