A group of Belgian and Dutch scientists conducted a study of the recovery process of patients after COVID-19 and found signs of chronic disease in some. The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.
The study involved almost 2 thousand people from those who suffered COVID-19 relatively easily (without hospitalization). Scientists have investigated the process and rate of their recovery after an infection. It turned out that every third person had fatigue, muscle weakness, and sleep disturbances for a long time. The study authors suggested that COVID-19 be considered chronic if symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks.
This goes against the traditional views of medical science about chronic infections, says Evgeny Kulikov, a microbiologist and specialist in viruses at the Vinogradsky Institute of Microbiology:
- [In the case of a chronic disease] the infection must always be maintained in the body, that is, the virus cannot be kicked out of there. So far, there is no evidence that the coronavirus does not leave the body, that it is really chronic and may be chronic. They talk about the manifestation of symptoms, while the study was conducted on a very small sample - this is not done. That is, they talk about the symptoms of a chronic illness without showing a chronic infection. This is simply not to be believed. Perhaps the symptomatology is similar to some similar symptomatology in chronic diseases, but the main thing is not shown - the chronic course of a viral infection.
- So it's just a long recovery from a virus?
- In fact, yes, or maybe not that long. In order to speak, long or short, we need to have a comparison. There are the same cases with the flu and with other viruses, there is SARS [SARS], akin to the coronavirus. So this is another, unfortunately, exaggerated sensation.
- Have you personally noticed that someone is recovering for a long time?
- There are, of course, but usually these are people who already had some kind of weakened state of the body or because of chronic diseases, because of the same diabetes, because of asthma.
This is most likely about complications after the transferred covid. They can persist for a long time, as after the flu, says Mikhail Kostinov, professor of the Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums, immunologist:
Mikhail Kostinov Professor of the Mechnikov Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums, immunologist “Not necessarily a coronavirus, any acute respiratory infection, what is it accompanied by when a person is sick? After three to five days, an acute process seems to take place, and then stabilization takes place for about a month or even more. At this time, some people remain at risk of complications. The process can go on in a chronic form, when the virus enters the body and remains there for two or three years, or, perhaps, for life, like herpes. Coronavirus refers to RNA viruses like influenza virus. Although the genome is unusual in construction, influenza is different. In practice, all over the planet, such cases were noted: a person seems to be recovering, the PCR test does not find anything, then the patient leaves the clinic, after two weeks he comes for a second examination, they take a culture and find a virus. What does this mean? That this virus, for sure, can also persist in the human body. But not all, but a certain cohort. This option may be, but it is too early to say that this is a chronic form of the disease, that is, coronavirus infection."
In October, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus, expressed concern about the long-term impact of COVID-19. According to him, symptoms change over time, often overlap and can affect any system of the body. The virus can lead to chronic fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, and inflammation of internal organs.
On the eve of Rospotrebnadzor said that the situation with the coronavirus in Russia is stabilizing. According to the head of the department Anna Popova, the incidence rate is slowing down.