Long COVID seen with one in five COVID survivors in U.S. - CDC study

May 25, 2022 12:06 PM ETModerna, Inc. (MRNA)PFE, RHHBY, RHHBF, GSK, VIR, HGENBy: Dulan Lokuwithana, SA News Editor79 Comments

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One in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18 – 64 years in the U.S. may have developed at least one condition linked to long COVID, a large new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates.

The prevalence is even higher among those aged 65 years and older, with one in four survivors showing at least one condition linked to previous coronavirus infection.

Long COVID is marked by hundreds of different symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, and brain fog lasting more than three months.

The study based on electronic health record (EHR) data collected between March 2020–November 2021 looked for the occurrence of conditions often seen with long COVID.

Data, based on more than 350,000 COVID patients and over 1.6 million non-COVID patients, indicated that COVID survivors were twice as likely to develop pulmonary embolism or respiratory conditions.

In addition to preventative measures for COVID-19, the researchers noted routine screening for post COVID conditions as a critical tool to reduce the incidence of long COVID.

“It is sobering to see the results of this study again confirming the breadth of organ dysfunction and the scale of the problem," Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, said.

The study results “can potentially translate into millions of people with new diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurologic problems. These are lifelong conditions — certainly manageable, but not curable conditions,” The New York Times reported, quoting Dr. Al-Aly, who was not involved in the study.

With data indicating the serious long-term implications of COVID-19, “we need to develop additional tools to reduce the risk of long Covid,” he added.

COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) has donated its mRNA-based shot for use in a U.K.-based long COVID study, Reuters reported in March.

Pharma giants Pfizer (PFE) and Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) (OTCQX:RHHBF) have reportedly shown interest in developing a cure for long COVID.

Developers of COVID-19 antibody drugs, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Vir Biotechnology (VIR), and Humanigen (HGEN), have discussed with researchers the potential of using their current medications in long COVID studies.

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