Arkansans researchers may have found the reason behind the long COVID-19 infection. A recent study at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) revealed that researchers might have discovered the potential cause of long-term COVID-19 symptoms, and an antibody might be responsible for it. According to a local news site of Arkansas, THV-11, they have discovered an antibody that appears after a few weeks of the primary infection. This antibody then attacks the body and interrupts some critical regulators of the body’s immune system.
An antibody cause to disrupt the immune system of a Covid-19 infected person
In another press release, the researchers added that the antibody cause complications for the immune system in an infected person’s body. It works by attaching an enzyme that takes part in fighting COVID-19. The attacking antibody interrupts that enzyme, leading to the development of long-COVID symptoms.
Dr. John Arthur is one of the senior professors and the head of the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UAMS College of Medicine. According to THV-11, Arthur said that everything is compatible with this antibody as a stimulant of long COVID. Thus, this finding is an exciting development that deserves further study.
What is long COVID?
It is a condition that appears in COVID-recovered persons. They experience some of the symptoms even after getting a negative Covid test. It is known as a post-COVID condition or long COVID sometimes.
What are the symptoms of long COVID?
Even after being Covid negative, some survivors usually develop long-term problems that may last several weeks to months after the infection. According to CNN, recently, researchers at Stanford University identified the most common symptoms of the long COVID. They include brain fog or an inability to concentrate, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
UK healthcare professionals said that long Covid symptoms might continue to appear for over 12 weeks after infection. After that, it may be mild or critical, depending on the health condition and immune system. According to the NHS, symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain or tightness
- Problems with concentration and memory or brain fog
- Changes to smell and taste
- Joint pain
Surveys on COVID-19 have found tens or even hundreds of other symptoms. For example, extensive research led by University College London (UCL) found nearly 200 symptoms of long Covid that affect around remarkably ten organ systems in the affected person’s body with long COVID compared to those who had completely recovered.
These include hearing and vision changes, insomnia, speech and language issues, hallucinations, and short-term memory loss. Apart from these, they also identified several other reported symptoms. These include changes to periods, bladder and gastrointestinal problems, and skin conditions.
The severity of these symptoms is not consistent for everyone, but most people with these symptoms cannot perform their everyday tasks, such as remembering words, grocery shopping, and showering.
What are the causes of long Covid?
Scientists are not sure yet about the actual cause of long COVID. However, they suggest some potential causes. One possible reason is the overdriving of a person’s immune systems who went into the infection. It may result in the attack of the viruses themselves and the body’s own tissues. On the other hand, it may happen with people who have strong responses to their immune systems.
The cause of symptoms, like loss of smell and taste and brain fog, is that the virus might get into the brain and damage the cells. In turn, it might damage the blood vessels, resulting in lung, heart, and brain problems.
A hypothesis is that some parts of the virus might remain inside the body of an infected person. Therefore, they may be lying inactive and become reactive when they get favorable conditions. It is a fact that happens with some other viruses, such as the Epstein Barr virus and herpes, responsible for causing glandular fever.
However, the researchers still do not have enough evidence to explain what is actually the cause of long Covid at this moment.
Covid vaccines may reduce the risk of long COVID
Moreover, researchers from King’s College London suggested that a complete vaccination against Covid-19 not only lessens the risk of catching it but additionally protects you from changing it into a long-term infection.
People still get this infection despite taking two doses of vaccine, but they are a bit of a number. However, that research showed a 50% reduction in the risk of developing symptoms lasting more than four weeks, observed in people getting both vaccine doses compared to those who did not.
Most of the double jabs vaccinated people had short-term COVID symptoms in the UK
About 78.9% of people over 16 years of age in the UK have taken both doses of a Covid vaccine. Among them, most of the people who got this infection after vaccination recovered within four weeks. However, some developed or continued symptoms for several weeks and even months after catching this infection. This condition is sometimes also called long COVID. It may occur even after people experiencing mild symptoms of coronavirus infection.
The research recently published in a scientific journal, the Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggested that vaccinations prevent severe illness and save lives. However, the study further states that the effect of vaccines on developing prolonged Covid infection is less specific.
Megan Higgins says that long COVID is the brushing hair, which can be “emotionally painful.”
The researcher used data from the Zoe Covid Study to find the impact of vaccination
During the study, they analyzed data collecting from a UK-based mobile application Zoe Covid Study. In this app, people reported symptoms of their Covid infection, tests, and vaccines themself.
This app has tracked about 971,504 adults who have received both doses of the Covid vaccine from December 2020 to July 2021. Additionally, it also recorded nearly 1.2 million people who have received only one dose of the coronavirus vaccine during that period.
1. Among all the double-dosed adults, only 0.2% (2,370 cases) of individuals reported Covid infection even after vaccination.
2. Researchers found about 592 adults who were fully vaccinated with Covid and had provided data for over a month. Among them, about 31 or 5% of individuals continued to receive prolonged Covid infection that lasted for 28 days or more after being positive for Covid-19.
3. When we talk about unvaccinated people, about 11% of individuals did not get any doses of the Covid vaccine.
4. Some adults also had more risk of getting breakthrough infections than others. It means a few of them got a covid-19 infection even after taking the Covid vaccine. They included people living in the deprived regions, older adults, and frail. However, this condition mainly happened for those who got only one dose of the Covid vaccine.
Dual Vaccination can reduce the risk of developing Covid infection and Long COVID
Dr. Claire Steves is the lead researcher of the study. She said that people at high risk of getting Covid infection need to prefer booster jabs of the Covid vaccine.
She further added that for the long Covid loads, they have good news. Recent research showed that dual vaccinations could significantly cut the risk of catching the virus, and if people already get it, then prevent them from developing long-term Covid.
Sajid Javid is a Health Secretary of the UK. He said that so far, vaccination has saved the life of more than 105,000 people. Additionally, it has also prevented over 24 million people from getting infections in England alone.
He further added, it is clear that vaccines are making a defensive wall against the infection. Vaccination is also the best way to protect you from developing severe illness due to this virus. He encouraged people to come forward if they were eligible for it and take both of their doses as soon as possible.
Researchers from Arkansans may have determined the cause of prolonged COVID infection. The study discovered an antibody that might potentially be the cause of long COVID. According to the THV-11, this antibody might appear after a few weeks of the initial infection. Afterward, it attacks the infected person and interrupts the critical regulators of the immune system.
To date, scientists cannot identify the actual cause of long COVID, as it might vary from person to person. However, they identified some common symptoms of long COVID. These symptoms include brain fog, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
Another recently published study has found that the COVID-19 vaccines can reduce the risk of prolonged COVID-19 infection. However, it works better for fully vaccinated people, according to Deseret News.
The UK has identified that most of the vaccinated people with double doses had relatively short-term COVID symptoms. People may get breakthrough infections or reinfection with COVID even after vaccination. They are usually those who have not received both doses of vaccine. Therefore, scientists suggested that dual vaccination could lower the risk of developing Covid-19 infection and prevent getting the long-term symptoms of COVID.