Millions of people suffer from COVID for a long time. Why is it still not treated?

Shelley Hayden’s long-term COVID illness from Sonoma was so serious that she said she had a “brain fracture.” The 54-year-old marketing coach asked not to interrupt the conversation so as not to lose his mind.

Tyler Gustafson of Berkeley recovered from COVID-19 in 2020 and felt like a heart attack last summer: a deep, aching pain in his chest. Her body itched. Her blood pressure was heard. His left side fainted and his thinking slowed. Even his vision was distorted. Worse still, the management consultant took medical leave because the symptoms never subsided. He was 30 years old.

Mysteriously, Gustafson began to recover. But Hayden still suffers from “accidents” that make him mentally and physically exhausted for days or weeks.

Their dreadful, contradictory medical tales – two of the millions of COVID survivors with persistent symptoms – revealed the still gloomy nature of the syndrome, surprising doctors and driving drug companies into the lurch, not knowing where to direct their medical investments.

Patients say they feel like they have fallen into the sand.

“Caring for people with chronic COVID is very bad,” Hayden said. “I’ve been teaching doctors!”

Shelley Hayden walks around her lab Theo and her property in Sonoma.

Samantha Lori / Chronicle

Recognizing the need to address the problem as soon as possible, President Biden announced on April 5 a long-running National Research Action Plan on COVID. It is a public-private partnership based on the restoration of the National Institutes of Health’s $ 1.15 billion initiative to coordinate long-term COVID research in all regions of the country, including UCSF and Stanford.

In the two years since patients and doctors diagnosed chronic COVID, researchers around the world have scanned, stitched and examined thousands of people in the hope of curing persistent symptoms ranging from fatigue and brain fog to heart palpitations. and odor loss. They believe that about one-third of unvaccinated COVID survivors suffer from long-term symptoms, and about half of vaccinated patients.

Scientists are gradually finding out more about the syndrome, Dr. said. Stephen Dix, lead researcher at UCSF’s LIINC study, or the long-term effects of roman coronavirus infection. LIINC has published only 18 documents, including a small new document showing that Paxlovid COVID can relieve persistent symptoms.

Researchers have identified three possible causes of chronic COVID: lice in the body, persistent inflammation caused by the coronavirus, and spontaneous activation of the body’s immune system.

That, in turn, leads to destruction in four main ways, Dix told state lawmakers in a March hearing. They cause neurological symptoms such as confusion, debilitating fatigue, cardiovascular problems, and a unique condition called POTS – postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome – that occurs where the heart beats when the victim gets up.

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