Some patients with long COVID still have the virus in their blood; Patients with Paxlovid rebound may need longer treatment

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – Below is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that requires further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by a peer review.

Some patients with long COVID still have the virus in their blood

Some cases of long COVID may be the immune system’s response to a SARS-CoV-2 infection lurking somewhere in the body, new findings from a small study suggest.

The researchers analyzed multiple plasma samples collected over time from 63 COVID-19 patients, including 37 who developed a long-standing COVID. In most of those with long COVID, the spike protein from the surface of the virus was detectable for up to 12 months, while it was not present in plasma samples from patients who were cured without lasting symptoms. The Spike protein circulating in the blood could mean “an active virus reservoir persists in the body,” the researchers said in an article published on medRxiv last week ahead of peer review. From this study it is not clear where exactly that tank can be found. The researchers said they previously found active virus in the children’s gastrointestinal tract weeks after the initial coronavirus infection, and other researchers found genetic evidence of the virus “in multiple anatomical sites for up to seven months after the onset of symptoms.”

If the findings can be confirmed in larger studies, the presence of the spike protein in the blood long after the initial infection could be a way to diagnose long COVID, the researchers said.

Patients with Paxlovid “rebound” may need longer treatment

The reported rebound in symptoms in some COVID-19 patients who took a five-day course of Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral pills could be the result of insufficient treatment, according to researchers who closely evaluated one of these patients.

Trial results showed that Paxlovid can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 in high-risk patients by 89% when taken within five days of symptom onset. In some patients, however, virus levels and symptoms rebounded after completing a course of Paxlovid, leading to concerns that the variants may develop resistance to two-drug treatment or that the pills may somehow weaken patients’ antibody resistance. . But when the researchers isolated the Omicron BA.2 variant from a rebound patient and tested it in lab experiments, they found that it was still sensitive to Paxlovid and had no mutations that would reduce the drug’s effectiveness. They also found that their patients’ antibodies could still prevent the virus from entering and infecting new cells.

The rebound of COVID-19 symptoms after treatment with Paxlovid is likely to be occurring because not enough of the drug is reaching the infected cells to completely prevent the virus from making copies of itself, the researchers said in a paper. published Monday in Clinical Infectious Diseases https: / / It is also possible that the drug is metabolized or processed at different rates in different people, or that some people have to take it for more than five days.

After COVID-19, children have more symptoms but less anxiety

Persistent health problems were only slightly more common in children after COVID-19 than in children of a similar age who avoided the virus, Danish researchers reported Wednesday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health https: //www.thelancet. com / journals / lanchi / article / PIIS2352-4642 (22) 00154-7 / fulltext. The researchers also found that anxiety levels were higher in children who had never had COVID-19.

They said 40 percent of infants and children with COVID-19 and 27 percent of their uninfected peers have experienced at least one symptom for more than two months. Among children aged 4 to 11, persistent symptoms were seen in 38% with COVID-19 and in 34% without it. And among 12- to 14-year-old boys, 46 percent of those with COVID-19 and 41 percent of those without had long-lasting symptoms. The findings were based on a survey of nearly 11,000 mothers of infected children and nearly 33,000 mothers of uninfected children.

While long-term COVID-associated symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, abdominal pain, and fatigue are often experienced by otherwise healthy children, infected children had more lasting symptoms, and a third had new symptoms that developed after COVID. 19. To the researchers’ surprise, the children who had COVID-19 experienced fewer psychological and social problems than those in the control group. They speculated that this may be because uninfected children had more “fear of the unknown disease and a shorter daily life due to protection against the virus.”

Click for a Reuters chart on vaccines under development.

(Reported by Nancy Lapid; Edited by Bill Berkrot)

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