Some long-term COVID patients still have virus in the blood; Paxlovid rebound patients may need longer treatment

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies of COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to confirm the findings and has yet to be certified by peer review.

Some tall COVID patients still have virus in blood

Some cases of long-term COVID may be the immune system’s response to a SARS-CoV-2 infection lurking somewhere in the body, new findings from a small study suggest.

Researchers analyzed multiple plasma samples collected over time from 63 patients with COVID-19, including 37 who developed long-term COVID-19. In the majority of those with long-term COVID, the spike protein from the surface of the virus was detectable for up to 12 months, while it was not present in plasma samples from recovered patients with no lasting symptoms. Spike protein circulating in the blood could mean that “a reservoir of active virus persists in the body,” the researchers said in a paper published last week on medRxiv https://www.medrxiv https://www. medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.06.14.22276401v1 was posted. of peer review. It is not clear from this study where exactly that reservoir could be. Researchers said they previously found an active virus in the gastrointestinal tract of children weeks after the initial coronavirus infection, and other researchers have found genetic evidence of the virus “at multiple anatomical sites for up to seven months after the onset of symptoms.”

If the results can be confirmed in larger studies, the presence of spike protein in the blood long after the initial infection could be one way to diagnose long-term COVID, the researchers said.

Paxlovid “rebound” patients may need longer treatment

The recovery from symptoms reported in some COVID-19 patients who took a five-day course of Pfizer’s antiviral Paxlovid pills may be due to inadequate treatment, according to researchers who closely evaluated one such patient.

Study results showed that Paxlovid can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 in high-risk patients by 89% if taken within five days of the onset of symptoms. However, in some patients virus levels and symptoms have recovered after completing a course of Paxlovid, raising concerns that variants are developing resistance to the two-drug treatment or that the pills might somehow increase the patient’s antibody resistance. can weaken. But when researchers isolated the Omicron BA.2 variant from a rebound patient and tested it in lab experiments, they found that it was still sensitive to Paxlovid and had no mutations that would reduce the drug’s effectiveness. They also found that their patient’s antibodies could still prevent the virus from entering and infecting new cells.

The rebound in COVID-19 symptoms after treatment with Paxlovid likely occurs because not enough of the drug reaches infected cells to prevent the virus from making copies of itself, the researchers said in an article published Monday in Clinical Infectious Diseases https :// /academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciac496/6611663. It’s also possible that the drug is metabolized or processed at different rates in different people, or that some people may need to take it for more than five days.

After COVID-19, children have more symptoms but less anxiety

Ongoing health problems were only slightly more common in children after COVID-19 than in children of a similar age who avoided the virus, researchers from Denmark reported Wednesday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/ article/PIIS2352-4642(22)00154-7/fulltext. However, anxiety levels were higher in children who never had COVID-19, the researchers also found.

They said 40% of babies and toddlers with COVID-19 and 27% of their uninfected peers experienced at least one symptom for more than two months. Among children aged 4 to 11, persistent symptoms were seen in 38% with COVID-19 and 34% without COVID-19. And among 12- to 14-year-olds, 46% of those with COVID-19 and 41% of those without COVID-19 had long-term symptoms. The results were based on a survey of nearly 11,000 mothers of infected children and nearly 33,000 mothers of uninfected children.

While symptoms associated with long-term COVID, such as headaches, mood swings, abdominal pain and fatigue, are often experienced by otherwise healthy children, infected children had longer lasting symptoms and a third had new symptoms that developed after COVID-19. To the researchers’ surprise, children who had COVID-19 experienced fewer psychological and social problems than those in the control group. They speculated that this could be because the uninfected children had more “fear of the unknown disease and more limited daily lives as they protected themselves from contracting the virus”.

Click for an image from Reuters https://tmsnrt.rs/3c7R3Bl on vaccines in development.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; editing by Bill Berkrot)

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