Scientists find a new cause of long COVID

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Have you ever wondered why some people suffer from long-lasting symptoms after recovering from COVID-19 while others bounce back quickly?

A new study from researchers in Boston may offer some clues.

The team, made up of experts in different fields like immune system science and virus study, investigated what makes people more likely to develop “long COVID”—the term for symptoms that last for weeks or months after the initial infection.

They focused on people with autoimmune rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis because they often have a more severe experience with COVID-19.

What they discovered could help doctors understand why long COVID happens and who is most at risk.

How a History of Common Cold Could Affect Long COVID

According to the study, people with autoimmune diseases who also developed long-lasting COVID symptoms were more likely to have had a certain kind of antibody in their blood.

This antibody is typically a reaction to a coronavirus that causes the common cold. This suggests that if you’ve had a specific type of common cold in the past, your immune system might react in a way that makes long COVID more likely.

“This study offers an explanation for why some people have long-lasting symptoms after getting over COVID,” said Dr. Zachary Wallace, one of the study’s authors.

He believes that identifying this antibody could help doctors understand how to treat people who are dealing with long-term symptoms.

Why This Research Matters

Around 45% of people with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis have reported long-lasting symptoms after getting COVID-19. Understanding why this happens is crucial for improving treatment and prevention.

The team plans to continue their research to see if their findings apply to people without autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Jeffrey Sparks, another author of the study, noted that their work is still ongoing. “We started collecting data from patients with autoimmune diseases right at the beginning of the pandemic.

What we are learning could be the key to understanding long COVID in broader patient groups,” he said.

Their research might eventually help in developing new tests and treatments for long COVID.

“By focusing on patients with autoimmune diseases, we can better understand who is at high risk of developing long COVID. This is a crucial step in finding ways to prevent or treat these persistent symptoms,” said Dr. Wallace.

The findings from this study could make a real difference in how we approach long COVID as a medical community and could lead to more targeted treatments for those suffering from persistent symptoms.

If you care about Covid-19, please read studies about new way to prevent the common cold (and maybe COVID-19), and common diabetes drug linked to less severe COVID-19.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about COVID infection and vaccination linked to heart disease, and results showing extracts from two wild plants can inhibit COVID-19 virus.

The research findings can be found in Science Translational Medicine.

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