Study Finds Possible Causes of, and Treatments for, Long COVID

Kara Grant

July 08, 2022

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Long COVID continues to plague millions of people who have contracted and recovered from their initial COVID infections.

Despite the high number of people who get the condition, there are still many unknowns when it comes to long COVID. But a new study examining mice has revealed the possible causes of long COVID, and how best it can be treated.

Researchers found that the surviving mice had pulmonary fibrosis – or a scarring of lung tissue – as well as chronic inflammation in the lungs a few weeks after they were cleared of the virus. The mice that were given an early dose of molnupiravir – one of the three FDA-approved antivirals for the treatment of COVID-19 – saw that their disease and its lingering symptoms were less severe.

While results from mouse studies don't apply directly to humans, "COVID-19 in mice and humans represent key findings that may prove translatable to other future emerging coronavirus disease pathologies," the authors wrote.

The most recent data from the CDC found that nearly 1 in 5 American adults who previously had COVID-19 get symptoms of what has come to be known as long COVID, which include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, mental health issues, and more.

Sources

Science Translational Medicine: "SARS-CoV-2 infection produces chronic pulmonary epithelial and immune cell dysfunction with fibrosis in mice."

CDC: "Nearly One in Five American Adults Who Have Had COVID-19 Still Have 'Long COVID.'"

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