Largest study yet examines who gets Long Covid

University of Arizona researchers help build road to treatment
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:16 PM MST|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 5:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - University of Arizona Health Sciences led one of 15 research groups in a groundbreaking study of 10,000 Americans. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found about 10% of Americans suffer from long Covid symptoms after an Omicron infection. From fatigue to brain fog, Long Covid can affect nearly every organ in the body - and there’s no reliable treatment yet. That’s not just painful, it’s also very expensive.

”It’s estimated that Long Covid is costing two to three trillion dollars expense in just one year. And these trials are all part of a one point one billion dollar investment. One point one billion dollars is just a fraction of a recurring cost of two to three trillion dollars,” said Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy, one of the principal investigators for the Arizona cohort and professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He explains much more about the research paper in our Web Extra.

The thrust of this trial is to figure out who gets long Covid and why they get it. They’ve come up with a few theories, as well as a new point system to identify those who have Long Covid, which they confirmed with a blood test. A dozen symptoms are the most common, including fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, stomach issues, heart palpitations, sexual problems, loss of smell or taste, cough, and chest pain.

The researchers learned these symptoms tend to cluster, which may help them discover how trauma from Covid-19 attacks different body systems. Because Arizona was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, the Long Covid rate here is 3% higher than the national rate, according to the research. The University of Arizona is a Long Covid Center for Excellence and will be involved in trials for years to come.

Click on this link to watch the entire interview with Dr. Sairam Parthasarath:

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