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

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that deserves further study to corroborate the findings and that has not yet been certified by peer review.

Some longtime COVID patients still have the virus in their blood

Some long-lasting COVID cases 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 patients with COVID-19, including 37 who developed long COVID. In the majority of people with long COVID, the virus surface spike protein was detectable for up to 12 months, whereas it was not present in plasma samples from recovered patients without lasting symptoms. The spike protein circulating in the blood could mean “that an active reservoir of virus persists in the body,” the researchers said in a paper posted to medRxiv 14.22276401v1 last week. peer review. Exactly where this reservoir might be is unclear in this study. Researchers said they have already found active virus in the gastrointestinal tracts of children weeks after initial coronavirus infection, and other researchers have found genetic evidence of the virus “in multiple anatomical sites up to seven months after the onset of symptoms.

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

Paxlovid “rebound” patients may need longer treatment

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

Trial results have shown that Paxlovid can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 in high-risk patients by 89% if taken within five days of the onset of symptoms. In some patients, however, virus levels and symptoms rebounded after completing treatment with Paxlovid, raising concerns that variants could develop resistance to the two-drug treatment or that the pills might weaken in some way. or another patient’s antibody resistance. But when 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 could reduce the effectiveness of the drug. They also discovered that their patient’s antibodies could still prevent the virus from entering and infecting new cells.

The rebound of COVID-19 symptoms after treatment with Paxlovid likely occurs because not enough of the drug is reaching infected cells to completely stop the virus from reproducing, researchers said in an article published Monday in Clinical Infectious Diseases. It is also possible that the drug is metabolized or processed at different rates in different people, or that some people need 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 the same age who avoided the virus, Danish researchers reported Wednesday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health https:// Anxiety levels, however, were higher in children who had never had COVID-19, the researchers also found.

They said 40% of infants and toddlers with COVID-19 and 27% of their uninfected peers had 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 34% without. And among 12- to 14-year-olds, 46% of those with COVID-19 and 41% 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 symptoms associated with long COVID such as headaches, mood swings, abdominal pain and fatigue are often experienced by otherwise healthy children, infected children had longer lasting symptoms and a third had new ones. symptoms that developed after COVID-19. To the researchers’ surprise, children with COVID-19 experienced fewer psychological and social problems than those in the control group. They speculated that this could be because uninfected children had more “fear of the unknown disease and a more restricted daily life due to their protection against the virus”.

Click for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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