"Covid long": two studies provide initial explanations

Fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, intermittent fever or loss of taste or smell, how to explain the persistence of symptoms months after Covid-19 infection? Two recent studies provide explanations for this "long Covid" syndrome, whose mechanisms are still poorly understood on a physiological level.

At a coronavirus vaccination centre, in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2021. © Armando Franca / AP

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The first study published in The Lancet is based on MRI scans performed in 259 patients who were hospitalized for Covid-19 infection in 2020 and 2021. The researchers were able to observe that nearly a third of patients had "abnormalities" in several organs, such as the brain, lungs or kidneys, several months after their discharge from the hospital.


Enough to prove - according to the authors of the study - that organs undergo changes after hospitalizations related to Covid-19. For some researchers, the study also suggests that the "long Covid" could be explained by an interaction between, at least, two abnormalities of different organs.

Another track, another study published this time in the journal eBiomedicine and conducted by Inserm researchers whose work rather opens the track of a mechanism concentrated in the brain. Based on about fifty patients, the results of their study suggest that Covid-19 infection can lead to the death of certain neurons and thus be the cause of symptoms that persist over time. According to Public Health France, the "long Covid" has affected 4% of the French population, or more than two million people over 18 years old in France.

See alsoCovid-19: WHO and the United States monitor the emergence of a new variant of the virus

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