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CORONAVIRUS – Time passes, and the disease remains. As for the symptoms, they change. As the peak of the pandemic of coronavirus walks away, and hoping that the next one is not already in sight, the “long-term” patients are making themselves heard. Those for whom the disease has not passed in a few days, or even a few weeks despite a positive diagnosis, continue to fight.
They emerged several months ago in the public eye, with the hashtags # apresJ60 or # apresJ120 in France, or #longcovid in the United States, but also thanks to testimonials from stars like Alyssa Milano.
Today, they are also of interest to science, which seeks to understand why some “drag” the disease after having conquered it, but also what are the symptoms of these Covid patients of a very particular kind.
Head to toe pain
By studying the messages left on Twitter by people claiming to have been infected for more than 60 days by SARS-CoV-2, a team from the University of Oxford brought up symptoms that are not those experienced by usual patients. So, alongside the manifestations common to the virus, such as anosmia (loss of smell), headaches or chest pain, many users have described insomnia, tachycardia, and for a few tinnitus and muscle pain.
Another study, conducted this time by directly questioning the members of a group of “long haulers” (“long termists” in English), these patients who, although convalescent, cannot get out of the disease, shows again that for them, the symptoms multiply. “The survey shows that body, nerve, and joint pain are common,” explains the study.
From a scientific point of view, these symptoms are not fully explained. The authors of the studies cited call for examining this suffering suffered by more and more patients to determine a real causal link with Covid-19 and to try to prevent it.
But they are not surprising either: as Stephen Halpin, researcher at the University of Leeds, explained to our British colleagues from HuffPost In early August, these symptoms of a long-term infection are similar to those experienced by patients with SARS (2002) or Mers (2012). Two epidemics due to coronaviruses, the aggressiveness of which continues to be discovered.
Phenomena still too little studied
An article published in the journal Science July 31, moreover, directly links the protean nature of the virus and the multiplicity of symptoms: the coronavirus is capable of creating damage in the lungs, in the brain, in the heart, in the muscles … Consequently , those who have had more difficulty dealing with viruses may have removed lasting scars. The journal takes the example of a patient who, two months after beating the disease, continues to suffer from an arrhythmia of the heart caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
This type of manifestation, too rare to be listed as a symptom for the moment by the health authorities, has therefore multiplied over time, for a disease that never ceases to show its different faces. Already last May, a researcher from University College London (UCL) listed the pain described by 640 patients with Covid: in total, no less than 62 symptoms had already been identified! The proof that the pain suffered by the victims of the “long Covid” is not at all psychological, even if fatigue and stress also bring their share of complications.
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