The most infectious subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus yet discovered is spreading through the U.S., and experts are predicting a January-February surge of COVID cases. A corollary is that we will also have more cases of long COVID, which is worrisome given new findings that long COVID, like acute infections, can be fatal. The best way to avoid long COVID is not to get infected in the first place.
Long COVID – the persistence of symptoms long past COVID’s normal recovery – remains in uncharted diagnostic waters. It’s a syndrome of symptoms rather than a specific disease. A new study from China sheds some light on who is at risk, and what symptoms they might have.
A disease produces specific signs or symptoms. Symptoms are reported by patients and are largely subjective, while signs are elicited by physicians and have a more objective quality. Meanwhile, a syndrome is a set of symptoms suggesting the presence of an underlying disease or condition. And while COVID is a disease, long COVID remains an often-ill-defined syndrome.
Active immunity means your body’s immune system gets revved up and primed by previous infection or exposure to vaccine antigens, whether it’s the real thing, i.e., getting sick with COVID, or via exposure to a human-made varietal from a vaccine (mRNA or conventional). Yet, somehow there’s this hue and cry that getting the real thing just isn’t as good as getting jabbed. Is it true?
Daily infections and deaths have been the main coronavirus public health concerns. Little attention has been given to the grab bag of lingering symptoms collectively known as “long-haul” or “post-COVID-19 syndrome,” affecting about 15% of the U.S. population. Here we use public data from two ongoing research projects to summarize the current state of knowledge.
We're learning more every day about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but it will likely present surprises. The best strategy is still to prevent new infections.
Perhaps. A new study in Science suggests a very high prevalence of the Epstein-Barr virus in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This strong evidence may aid those suffering from MS and give us all a better sense of how endemic infections may have long-term consequences that we are slow to recognize because of the long delay between infection and symptoms.
Most COVID-19 concerns have focused on daily infections and their accumulated impacts. Relatively little attention has been given to the lingering symptoms known as “long-haul COVID,” even though it comprises some 30% of cases. The available data are spotty but amenable to the same kinds of population analysis that has been applied to daily cases.
The strange neurological symptoms of "long-COVID" may have an explanation: another virus. A study has examined whether COVID promotes the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr Virus, an ubiquitous herpes virus that causes mono in teens. The evidence suggests that this is, indeed, the case, and it's EBV that's causing some of the long-COVID symptoms.