72714475007 Long Covid



More than a year after contracting Covid-19, Sawyer Blatz hasn’t been able to practice his weekly rituals: jogging for miles in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or biking around his adopted hometown.

In many ways, the epidemic is far from over for the 27-year-old and millions of other Americans. It might never happen.

They have a long covid, this disease is characterized by a combination of 200 different symptoms of delay, some like taste and smell are familiar from the first infections and some are completely strange, like Blaze, complete fatigue that cannot walk much. Over the block.

“I feel homesick in my hometown,” said Blaze, an out-of-work software engineer, who devotes his current limited energy to long-term Covid patients.

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Federal Estimates suggest at least 16 million Americans As of November 2022, 4 million people are likely to be disabled by this, according to Blatts, who had his only Covid infection.

Along with other patient advocates and doctors, Blaze says the pace of government-funded research is too slow and too small to solve a problem of this magnitude. Many people with chronic Covid face debilitating conditions without seeing any benefits from the hundreds of millions of tax dollars pouring into understanding and treating the chronic disease.

As Blaze puts it, there are still “zero” proven treatments for people like him.

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“The urgency and the finances are not keeping up,” said Blaze, who has tried more than 50 medications, supplements and exercises in the past year and founded a group called Long Covid Moonshot to spread the word. It’s getting worse in my life.”

New research is published every week, including the latest studies that show this. Vaccinations It can reduce the risk of prolonged covid infection. Inflammation can disrupt the normal barrier Between the brain and the rest of the body, the formation of brain fog, and their existence Noticeable changes in the muscles For some people with long-term covid, it may explain why exercise weakens them instead of making them stronger.

The complexity of both the disease and the drug development system, the difficulty of getting doctors to believe and the insurance paid for visits, for a long time made the covid patients feel lonely and on board.

Americans are paying the price. According to the 2022 analysisLong-term Covid costs the US economy at least $200 billion a year in lost productivity, lost wages and medical costs.

David Putrino, who leads rehabilitation innovation at Mount Sinai Health System, doesn’t go without a lot of attention.

“It’s a problem we need to solve fast and furious, or we’re all going to pay,” he said.

as if Paper in a science journal Published last week, researchers have long argued that COVID presents a historic opportunity to rethink acute chronic diseases from multiple infections and prepare for future pandemics.

“This really needs to be an all-hands-on-deck situation,” Dr. Ziad Al Ali, the paper’s author, told USA Today. “A bold approach is needed.”

The government is taking a systematic, comprehensive approach.

Congress has earmarked $1.2 billion through the end of 2020 to study long-term Covid-19 and develop treatments.

About 90,000 adults and children joined Studies started last year Testing 13 interventions, such as the antiviral paxlovide, sleep aids, physical therapy and medical devices.

This month, he directed an additional $500 million over the next four years. Research on Covid to improve the RECOVER initiativeIts mission is to “take a systematic, comprehensive and rigorous approach to improve our understanding of chronic Covid and increase the chances of identifying treatments that work.”

Additional funding from the Public Health Fund will allow for more clinical studies and deeper research to better understand what is causing patients’ symptoms, Dr. Gary Gibbons, co-chair of RECOVER, told USA TODAY.

Instead of moving slowly, Gibbons said the federal government is committed to helping patients and is acting as fast as responsible science allows.

Anyone who hasn’t seen that either doesn’t understand the scientific process or doesn’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, and most say the federal government doesn’t have the freedom to negotiate with drug companies to make it public. .

“We all want to move toward something that works with a sense of urgency, but it’s important to be specific and get it right,” Gibbons said. “So that’s why we want to do this systematically, based on the rules of solid science.”

Advocates say it should happen more quickly

Still, longtime Covid advocates see the federal effort as anemic, inflexible and slow.

“The current approach is not entirely satisfactory,” said Al-Ali, director of research and development for the US Veterans Affairs St. Louis health care system. Current clinical trials are “very, very small, not ambitious at all,” he said.

The tests can point to possible treatments, but they don’t provide any breakthroughs, he said.

Instead, tens of thousands of existing drugs should be reviewed to develop a shortlist of candidates that could work for chronic Covid patients, and the private sector should be encouraged to develop new treatments.

Currently, large companies are afraid to invest in the very expensive process of developing long-acting Covid drugs, because there is no international agreement on how to define long-acting Covid or what progress looks like.

Gibbons said the agency’s current partnership with Pfizer, testing paxlovid in the long-term Covid-19, should provide a regulatory roadmap for other companies to follow.

Puterino, of Mount Sinai, said he thinks the federal tests are too easy.

Long-term covid patients are the most complicated they have ever seen. The delivery of a single drug, device, or therapy will not allow a person who is unable to control a shower to suddenly return to work.

He compares a single drug procedure to pulling one nail out of a person’s foot, leaving four deep.

Instead, researchers should test multiple approaches simultaneously using complex, randomized clinical trial designs to see which treatments help which patients, Puterino said.

Long-term covid has a number of different possible causes, including old viral particles, clogged blood vessels, previous infections and an overactive or underactive immune system.

Some patients may have more than one problem. Targeting the specific cause of a person’s symptoms will be important, he said.

Last week, Putrino’s team at Mount Sinai won a $2.6 million grant from the PolyBio Research Foundation, a longtime Covid-19 nonprofit, to fund two clinical trials. A man is investigating whether two antiviral drugs used to treat HIV can reduce long-term symptoms of Covid-19. The second will investigate whether breaking up tiny blood clots with an enzyme called lumbrokinase can reduce symptoms in patients with prolonged covid or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Puterino said the studies will be different from those conducted by the federal government because they will look for specific symptoms and biological indicators to target treatments for those symptoms — rather than trying every treatment on someone with chronic COVID.

My hope for 2024 is that we will be more evidence-based in the drugs we prescribe because these clinical trials will tell us which drugs respond and who doesn’t. he said.

Both Al-Ali and Gibbons said they see long-term Covid research as an opportunity to help others with chronic illnesses after infection.

Scientists have known since at least the 1918 flu that short-term illnesses can have long-term consequences. There were people who got that type of flu. Very high risk Eventually developing Parkinson’s. Similarly, people who contract polio in childhood, even those who escape the worst of it, can develop the disease decades later. Post-polio syndromeDebilitating muscle weakness.

By seeing how many people get sick at the same time and learning how to help those with prolonged Covid, scientists should be able to help people who struggle to recover or suffer from another infection, Al-Ali said.

“These situations have been isolated and swept under the rug for the last 100 years,” he said. “This pandemic is an opportunity to do it right.”