Last December, we published an article concerning the long-term effects of COVID-19 in patients, who are known as COVID-19 “long-haulers” (read HERE). In this respect, an article published last February 10 by Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia – USA) reports on a project by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) involving the public and some of the leading health institutes in the US. The study, called INSPIRE, seeks to conduct urgently-needed applied research in a large representative sample of the US population to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. One of the areas of interest is COVID-19 long-haulers, as at present, “[s]cientists and doctors are scrambling to understand how the novel coronavirus wreaks such widespread and continuing havoc on [them].”
Anna Marie Chang, MD, an emergency medicine physician who is leading Jefferson’s efforts in this study says that, “Much of the initial research and literature on COVID-19 was on mortality rates and treatments. But as more data has come out on these long-haulers, we’ve realized that COVID-19 is not just a pulmonary disease. We know very little about these long-lasting sequelae.” What appears clear, but needs confirmation, is that 1 in 3 COVID-19 patients have long-term effects after the infection.
The article invites readers to enroll in the CDC project, “Patients who are interested can visit COVID INSPIRE to see if they qualify and begin the enrollment process. To enroll at Jefferson, simply click on the Jefferson logo through the INSPIRE portal.”
“Jefferson Health, which will act as the enrolling site for the entire Philadelphia and neighboring region, plans to enroll 400 patients over the age of 18 years and who have had a COVID test done in the last 28 days. Patients who experienced symptoms but tested negative also qualify.” “There is always a possibility of false-negative tests, so we want to make sure we capture that data as well,” says Dr. Chang. The researchers are also hoping to capture a range in demographics, the severity of illness and hospitalization.”
Dr. Chang concludes, “We have already lost thousands of lives, and if we don’t address the long-term impact on survivors, we could have a population that is left debilitated 20-30 years from now. The more data we and our collaborators can gather, the better chance we have at preventing that”.
We underline the urgent need to know more about these long-term effects that could affect our societies now and in the future.