FACT FINDERS: Long-haul COVID and the Delta variant

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 6:15 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Are you more likely to get long-haul COVID-19 from the original strain of the coronavirus or from the Delta variant?

Long-haul COVID is when a patient has new or ongoing symptoms that last for weeks or months after they were infected. Those patients might experience headaches, difficulty breathing, or change in taste and smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since the Delta variant is considered to be more harmful and infectious than the original strain, could it also cause long-haul COVID?

One expert at the University of Arizona says that’s still something they are researching. However, right now, the answer seems to be no.

”There is little in the biology of the virus that has changed that would make us expect that it’s going to be very different,” said Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich, Department Head of Immunobiology at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Nikolich-Zugich says most of the long-haul cases that have been diagnosed so far come from the original strain or early variants like Alpha. However, they have been spreading longer than Delta.

He says one of the biggest questions they are trying to answer right now is whether severe COVID cases make patients more likely to develop long-haul symptoms.

It’s not a simple answer, he says, as it’s possible for those with mild symptoms to develop long-haul COVID, as well.

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