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Who will get long Covid? Study may offer clues

0 2 years ago

A blood test may someday help determine a person’s risk for long Covid, new research suggests.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, found that people who go on to develop long Covid have lower levels of certain antibodies in their blood soon after they are infected with the coronavirus.

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If confirmed through larger studies, the findings could help scientists develop a test to predict who may continue to suffer from symptoms weeks, months and even years following infection.

“We want to be able to recognize and identify, as early as possible, who is at risk of developing long Covid,” said Dr. Onur Boyman, an author of the new study and a researcher in the department of immunology at University Hospital Zurich.

Long Covid, a poorly understood condition for which there is no standard definition, diagnosis or treatment, has vexed doctors and researchers worldwide since the pandemic began.

The precise number of long Covid patients is unclear, though it’s been estimated that one-third of Covid patients overall may experience symptoms for at least a month.

Any early insights into which patients may end up becoming so-called long-haulers are welcome, outside experts said.

Charles Downs, a researcher into long Covid and an associate professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Miami, called the research “very promising.”

“There is no single test, no imaging study, that can be used to give a diagnosis” of long Covid, he said. “This helps move us in that direction.”


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