New Study Shows the 4 Biological Factors that Can Increase Your Risk of Developing Long COVID!

New Study Shows the 4 Biological Factors that Can Increase Your Risk of Developing Long COVID!
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According to new research, there might be a way to predict who is more likely to develop long COVID and it looks like it’s based on certain biological factors scientists have been able to identify!

The new study was published in the journal Cell earlier this week and involves a US based team that conducted a multiomic and longitudinal investigation of over 200 COVID patients starting from the moment of receiving their positive tests to convalescence 2 to 3 months later.

As for what multiomics are, they involve data sets of different omic groups combined during an analysis, omics referring to different biology branches the names of which all end in the suffix – omic, genomics being one example.

The new study, which was integrated with clinical data as well as patient-reported symptoms, revolved around four factors at initial diagnosis including SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia, Type 2 diabetes, Epstein-Barr virus viremia, as well as certain autoantibodies.

In the case of patients with gastrointestinal long COVID, T cells tend to present a cytotoxic post-acute.

Cytotoxic T cells are mostly produced in the thymus and kill virally infected cells and tumors as per the British Society for Immunology.

Analyzing symptom-associated immunological signatures also showed coordinated immunity polarization which means that immune cells tend to adopt some unique programs and perform very specialized response functions in response to particular signals into 4 health conditions subtypes that show divergent, severe and long COVID.

The researchers wrote in the study that “We find that immunological associations between [long COVID] factors diminish over time leading to distinct convalescent immune states.”

They also noted that the detectability of most long COVID factors at the point of diagnosis highlights the importance of measurements early after diagnosis in order to understand emergent chronic conditions.

The main investigator of the research, Jim Heath, who is also the president of Seattle’s Institute for Systems Biology, shared via The New York Times that 37 percent of all patients aged between 18 and 89 reported at least 3 symptoms of long COVID 2 to 3 months after diagnosis.

That being said, 24 percent reported 1 or 2 symptoms, the rest of 39 percent accounting for those with no further symptoms.

The patients involved, many of them being hospitalized, were surveyed for all symptoms associated with long COVID, the researchers then analyzed blood as well as nasal swabs increasingly.

Out of the patients that reported over 3 symptoms, no less than 95 percent had at least one out of the four biological factors that were identified in the study when first testing positive for COVID-19.

Heath shared with the same publication that autoantibodies were associated with two-thirds of the long COVID cases.

Furthermore, the scientists also corroborated some of their findings in another group involving 100 patients and also compared their results so further data from 457 people who were healthy.

He explained that “We did this analysis because we know patients will go to physicians and they’ll say that they’re tired all the time or whatever and the physician just tells them to get more sleep. That’s not very helpful. So, we wanted to actually have a way to quantify and say that there’s actually something wrong with these patients.”

At the same time, the research team made sure to mention that their findings were rather exploratory and that there is a need for more research on this topic to be done for more conclusive results.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that people may experience long COVID symptoms for at least four weeks after infection with the virus.

Such symptoms can differ depending on the types of health problems and their variety of combinations in one person.

For instance, some patients who have severe COVID experience multiorgan effects but also autoimmune conditions.

In the case of children, they can also deal with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS).

The CDC mentions that symptoms can include brain fog, difficulty breathing, muscle or joint pain, mood swings, sleep problems, a lack of smell and taste and changes in the menstrual cycle.

These, of course, do not also include other sorts of post-COVID conditions that may occur in people who struggle with another severe illness.

Since back in July, long COVID conditions have been categorized as a disability based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines.


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Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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