Sunday, March 3, 2024

Study reveals clues to fatigue and brain fog in Long Covid

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Ever wondered why persistent fatigue and brain fog haunt those grappling with Long Covid?

A recent study unlocks critical insights, offering hope for understanding these enduring symptoms.

Delving into the experiences of 113 Covid patients over a year, scientists unveil a pivotal connection at the six-month mark. For 40 patients developing Long Covid symptoms, the study delves into the molecular mechanisms behind the lingering effects.

The culprit is an ongoing activation of the complement system, a linchpin in the immune system. Ordinarily, this system kicks in to eliminate viruses and bacteria during an infection, returning to a quiescent state afterward. Yet, in Long Covid sufferers, this vital defense mechanism remains overly vigilant, wreaking havoc on healthy cells.

“When you have a viral or bacterial infection, the complement system becomes activated and binds to these viruses and bacteria and then eliminates them,” said Dr Onur Boyman, a professor of immunology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and one of the study’s investigators.

The ramifications are profound, elucidating the often-debilitating symptoms linked to Long Covid. Tissue damage and microclots emerge, casting light on why even simple activities like exercise become challenging. During physical activity, the heart’s efforts to pump more blood exacerbate complications in Long Covid patients with inflamed endothelial cells.

This study’s findings extend a lifeline, promising avenues for diagnostic tests and targeted treatments. By scrutinising the proteins of the complement system, researchers envision practical tools for identifying and tackling Long Covid. However, the current intricacies of protein detection necessitate collaboration with diagnostic companies possessing the capability to streamline the process.

With around 14% of US adults reporting Long Covid experiences, the urgency to comprehend its intricacies intensifies. While prior studies explored varied facets, this research offers a unique perspective, unveiling the molecular initiation of blood clotting and tissue damage.

Optimism prevails among experts, eyeing potential treatments by regulating the complement system. Existing drugs, crafted for rare immune diseases, could find new purpose in the battle against Long Covid. Clinical trials loom on the horizon once diagnostic tests are honed.

Researchers stress the importance of result replication and prolonged studies, acknowledging the intricate journey ahead.

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