(CTN News) – Long Covid continues to plague millions of Americans, but a recent NIH-funded study has shone a light on the condition’s symptoms for the first time.
The lack of a uniform definition of the condition shown in the study highlights the importance of this work as a first step toward establishing a common language that will allow scientists to create viable treatments.
Guiding Future Research: NIH Study Provides Scoring System for Long Covid Symptoms
The study’s author, Dr. Leora Horwitz, hopes this field will continue to thrive. The analysis of over 10,000 adults who participated in the National Institutes of Health’s RECOVER experiment was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Twelve of the most common complaints about extended Covid were examined. These included weakness, confusion, lightheadedness, nausea, and chest pain.
The purpose of the study was not to narrow the definition of long Covid to these symptoms but rather to direct future research by analyzing the physiological effects of the condition.
The researchers also created a scoring system to evaluate patient-specific symptom intensity, which will aid future studies. However, the study has been criticized because it offers no quick fixes or therapies.
Many feel it falls short of what patients and clinicians with long-term Covid symptoms hoped for. It has been argued that several diagnostic labels, such as “brain fog” and “abnormal movements,” are too broad and ill-defined.
The research showed that the severity of symptoms was higher among unvaccinated long Covid patients and in those infected before the Omicron variant emerged. The study also grouped symptoms, such as exhaustion and malaise after physical effort.
Hope for Long Covid Patients: Study Serves as Launchpad for Future Research and Impact Assessment
Clinical trials of treatments for long Covid, which could help the more than 100 million Americans plagued by it, could begin later this year thanks to these findings.
One of the authors, Dr. Tanayott Thaweethai, underlined the need for an in-depth study of this condition because of its complexity.
The study’s publication is a major milestone in better understanding long Covid and developing effective treatments. Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel L. Levine acknowledged the need for patients with long-term Covid to have more information about their illness.
While this study is a major step forward, the authors acknowledge that it is merely the beginning and urge more study.
The study provides a foundation for further research on extended Covid and its far-reaching effects, which is desperately needed because millions seek hope through successful treatments.