UC Davis publishes research paper on Covid-19 ‘long haulers’
April 19, 2021
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by Arabella Seebaluck

The University of California, Davis has published a new research paper which has highlighted some important points on why some Covid-19 patients recover and some don’t. The researchers found that four compounds in the blood of Covid-19 patients are linked with the disease.

The paper’s lead author and doctoral candidate Cindy McReynolds said, ‘Different outcomes from COVID-19 infections are both terrifying from a human health perspective and fascinating from a research perspective. Our data provide an important clue to help determine what impacts the severity of COVID-19 outcomes. Initially, we focused on the immune response and cytokine profile as important drivers in severity, but considering what we now know from our study and others in the field, lipid mediators may be the missing link to answering questions such as why some people are asymptomatic while others die, or why some disease resolves quickly while others suffer from long-haul COVID.’

Tens of thousands of people have reported feeling ill and other symptoms even after technically recovering from Covid-19. Many of them identify as ‘Covid long haulers.’ The most common symptoms have been exhaustion and breathlessness.

According to one study 10% of people experience prolong illness after being infected with Covid-19.

However, many such patients have reported a marked improvement in their condition after getting the vaccine. 

Another study done in the UK, which is yet to be peer reviewed, found that those who had received at least one dose of the vaccine experienced “a small overall improvement” in long COVID symptoms and felt a “decrease in worsening symptoms” when compared to the unvaccinated patients.

The researchers in this study observed 66 patients who were hospitalised and had persistent symptoms like breathlessness, insomnia, and fatigue. Of these 44 were vaccinated and 22 were not.

According to the study, over 23% of the vaccinated patients saw some relief compared to those who were not vaccinated. There was no difference in response to the kind of vaccine they took, between the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The team also found another “reassuring result” — fewer vaccinated patients reported any worsening symptoms during the time period studied than the unvaccinated group, though they cautioned that there was a large potential for bias given patients self-reported their symptoms. 

Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious diseases physician at Columbia University in New York, spoke to the CBC, and said that around 40% of his patients who continued having symptoms after recovering from covid-19, have reported an improvement in their health after being fully vaccinated.

Nobody is really clear however, how the vaccines have helped. For now, maybe its enough that its bringing relief to people who’ve been suffering with side effects for over a year. 

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