“Long Covid”. Symptoms, effects on the brain, newborns… We know more about this disease

This is a matter of urgency and long term. We have it for a long time with the long Covid”,explains Yazdan Yazdanpanah, the director of the ANRS, which federates research against the virus. This disease affects, for several months, people who have contracted the virus. To mobilize the troops, the ANRS launched a call for projects with the Foundation for Medical Research.

The therapeutic management of long Covid is a challenge,​explains infectious disease specialist Olivier Robineau, coordinator at the ANRS.No medicine works on all the symptoms. The societal impact is little known. But we have a lot more data than in 2021 and the scientific articles are of better quality”.

Research on the general population in France, the United Kingdom and the United States shows that this phenomenon exists and that the symptoms are sometimes intense, especially in certain populations​. The #AprèsJ20 patient association, involved by the ANRS in research projects, launched the alert in 2020 on this emerging disease. She’s not psychosomatic. We it is not yet known why the symptoms persist, whether it is linked to viral persistence, a medical history or the effect of a comorbidity.

Hemorrhages in the brain

The effects on the brain were studied by Vincent Prévot, research director at Inserm. With the Lille University Hospital, his team observed the blood vessels in the brains of deceased Covid patients. The virus creates hemorrhages in the brain. It may be reversible, as animal models have shown. But if there is a fragility of the central nervous system, the patient is likely to contract then a neurodegenerative disease”.

The ANRS also encourages research on pregnant women and their newborns. The probability that they contract a severe form of the disease is 8% higher than in other women, explains epidemiologist Catherine Deneux-Tharaux.Vaccination is a real challenge, as well as the monitoring of children. What will be the consequence on their brain development? To understand this, 6,000 women who have contracted the virus will be followed, with their babies, until the child is four years old.

The number of people suffering from long Covid remains difficult to establish. Some don’t know they have it,continues Olivier Robineau. Symptoms taken in isolation, such as a headache, make us miss the diagnosis. Patients suffering from Covid, for a month, could amount to 20 or 30% of those affected ”.

“Long Covid”. Symptoms, effects on the brain, newborns… We know more about this disease

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