Symptoms linger for two years for some; inflammatory protein patterns may provide long COVID clues

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.

COVID-19 symptoms still bother two years later

Half of COVID-19 patients discharged from a Chinese hospital in early 2020 still have at least one symptom two years later, a new study shows.

Overall, the 2,469 COVID-19 survivors in the study, regardless of initial disease severity, had improvements in physical and mental health over time. Nearly 90% of workers returned to their jobs within two years. But the survivors had a “remarkably” lower health status than the general population after two years, and their burden of symptoms of aftereffects “remained fairly high,” the researchers reported Wednesday in The Lancet Respiratory Diseases. After two years, 55% still had at least one COVID-19 aftereffect, according to the report. Fatigue or muscle weakness were the most commonly reported symptoms during the study. Patients requiring mechanical ventilation for critical illness still had high pulmonary dysfunction after two years.

“Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalized COVID-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, it will take more than two years to fully recover from COVID-19,” the researchers said. .

Protein “patterns” could help classify tall COVID patients

Patterns of inflammatory proteins in the blood of people with long-term COVID may one day help guide individualized treatment, new findings suggest.

Researchers studied 55 people with long-term COVID-19 who were only mildly ill with COVID-19 and found that about two-thirds had high levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood, with the ongoing inflammation most likely found in individuals with the highest burden of long-term COVID-19. symptoms. “While previous research has shown high levels of such proteins in long-term COVID patients, we provide the first evidence that more than half” have a specific signature or pattern, while others do not, the researchers reported Tuesday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review .

“At least two different patterns of inflammatory proteins were detected,” said study leader Troy Torgerson of the Allen Institute for Immunology in Seattle. The existence of these patterns suggests that the immune system is activated in specific ways that may respond to treatment with existing anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive drugs, Torgerson said. “Measurement of these proteins in blood could help identify long-term COVID patients who may be good candidates for treatment studies with these drugs or potential future treatments.”

Mixing among vaccinees can make vaccines seem less effective

Increased contact between vaccinated people could create the wrong impression that COVID-19 vaccines don’t work, researchers warn.

Some studies have suggested that vaccinated individuals become infected more quickly than unvaccinated individuals, but these studies are likely to contain statistical errors, especially if they don’t take into account different contact patterns between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, said Korryn Bodner of St. Michael’s Hospital. , Unity Health Toronto. Using computer models to simulate epidemics with a vaccine that protects against infection and transmission, her team identified conditions that “could create a perfect storm for observing negative vaccine effectiveness even when a vaccine was effective,” Bodner said. Effective vaccines may appear ineffective when vaccinated people have more contact with each other than unvaccinated people, when the benefits of the vaccine diminish but are not lacking (as has happened with new SARS-CoV-2 variants), or when effectiveness is reduced. measured during an epidemic grows (such as when a new variant emerges), according to a report on medRxiv prior to peer review.

The simulations do not prove that this kind of bias affected vaccine efficacy studies versus the Omicron variant. However, they show that “even if vaccines work, more contact between vaccinated individuals can cause the vaccine to fail,” Bodner said.

Click for an image from Reuters on vaccines in development.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; editing by Bill Berkrot)

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