COVID Science: Symptoms last two years for some; Inflammatory protein patterns may provide long-term clues about COVID

A medical worker prepares a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a visit by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to a vaccination center in Chinatown, Chicago, Illinois, USA, April 6, 2021. Photo taken on April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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May 12 (Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review.

Symptoms of COVID-19 Still Affect Many 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.

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Overall, regardless of initial illness severity, the 2,469 COVID-19 survivors in the study had improvements in physical and mental health over time. Almost 90% of those who were employed returned to their jobs within two years. But the survivors had “remarkably” lower health status than the general population at two years, and their after-effect symptom burden “remained quite high,” the researchers reported Wednesday in The Lancet Respiratory Diseases. At two years, 55% still had at least one aftereffect of COVID-19, according to the report. Fatigue or muscle weakness were the most frequently reported symptoms during the study. Patients who required mechanical ventilation for critical illness still had high rates of pulmonary impairment at two years.

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

Protein ‘patterns’ may help classify long-term COVID patients

Patterns of inflammatory proteins in the blood of people with long-term COVID could 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 ongoing inflammation more likely to be found in individuals with the highest burden of long-term symptoms. from COVID. “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 the review. by pairs.

“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 being activated in specific ways that may respond to treatment with existing anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive drugs, Torgerson said. “Measuring these proteins in the blood can help identify long-term COVID patients who may be good candidates for treatment studies using these drugs or possible future treatments.”

Mixing in between vaccinees can make vaccines seem less effective

Increased contact between vaccinated people can give the false impression that COVID-19 vaccines are not working, the researchers warn.

Some studies have suggested that vaccinated individuals are becoming infected at higher rates than unvaccinated individuals, but these studies are likely to involve statistical errors, particularly if they do not account for the different patterns of contact between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, said Korryn Bodner, of St. Michael’s. Hospital, Toronto Health Unit. 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 to observe negative vaccine efficacy even when a vaccine was effective,” Bodner said. Effective vaccines may appear ineffective when vaccinated people have more contact with each other than with unvaccinated people, when vaccine benefits are diminished but not absent (as happened with new variants of SARS-CoV-2), or when vaccine Effectiveness is measured during an epidemic that is growing (such as when a new variant is emerging), according to a report published on medRxiv prior to the peer review.

The simulations do not prove that this type of bias has affected vaccine efficacy studies versus the Omicron variant. They do show, however, that “even if vaccines work, increased contact between vaccinated people can lead to the appearance of the vaccine not working,” Bodner said.

Click to see a Reuters graphic of vaccines in development.

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Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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