Symptoms last two years for some; Inflammatory protein patterns can provide long clues to COVID

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that requires further studies to corroborate the findings and has not yet been certified by a peer review.

COVID-19 symptoms still affect many two years later

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

Overall, regardless of the initial severity of the disease, the 2,489 COVID-19 survivors in the study had improvements in physical and mental health over time. Almost 90% of those who were employed returned to work in two years. But survivors had a “noticeably” lower health status than the general population at age two, and their burden of symptoms from the after-effects “remained quite high,” researchers told The Lancet Respiratory Diseases on Wednesday. At age two, 55% still had at least one sequel to COVID-19, according to the report. Fatigue or muscle weakness were the most common symptoms during the study. Patients who had required mechanical ventilation for a critical illness still had high rates of lung deterioration at two years.

“Our results indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalized COVID-19 survivors, although they may have eliminated the initial infection, it takes more than two years to fully recover from COVID-19,” they said. researchers.

Protein “patterns” can help classify long-term patients with COVID

New findings suggest that inflammatory protein patterns in the blood of people with long-term COVID may one day help guide individualized treatment.

The researchers studied 55 people with long COVID-19 who had only been mildly ill with COVID-19 and found that about two-thirds had high levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood, with ongoing inflammation more likely to be found in individuals. with the highest load of long symptoms of COVID. “Although previous research has shown high levels of these proteins in long-term patients with COVID, we provide the first evidence that more than half” have a specific signature or pattern, while others do not, researchers told bioRxiv on Tuesday. before peer review. .

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

The mix of vaccines may make vaccines seem less effective

Increased contact between vaccinated people may give the false impression that COVID-19 vaccines do not work, the researchers warn.

Some studies have suggested that vaccinated individuals become infected at higher rates than unvaccinated individuals, but these studies are likely to involve statistical errors, especially if they do not take into account the different patterns of contact between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. , 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, his team identified conditions that could create “a perfect storm to observe the negative effectiveness of the vaccine even when a vaccine was effective.” said Bodner. Effective vaccines may seem ineffective when vaccinated people have more contact with each other than with unvaccinated people, when the benefits of the vaccine are reduced but not absent (as with new SARS-CoV-2 variants) or when effectiveness is measured while there is an epidemic. is growing (as when a new variant appears), according to a report published in medRxiv before the peer review.

Simulations do not show that this type of bias affects vaccine effectiveness studies compared to the Omicron variant. They show, however, that “even if vaccines work, greater contact between vaccinated people can cause the vaccine not to work,” Bodner said.

Click to see a Reuters chart on developing vaccines.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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