Severe fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of condition and headache: thousands of ex-corona patients suffer from complaints for months or even longer. Little is known about the cause of these long-term complaints, and there is no effective medicine yet.
But at the end of March, a hopeful message appeared from the United States for these lung covid patients.
An American doctor who works at Columbia University told in The New York Times that about 40 percent of the lung Covid patients he treats felt better after receiving a corona vaccine. “A few days after the injection, they noticed that they were less tired, and that their smell and taste seemed to come back.”
And this week writes the Chicago Tribune about lung covid patient Wendy French, who tells in the newspaper how her complaints became a lot less after a corona vaccination.
“I felt really good the day after the first shot,” she said. “I had more energy than I’ve had in weeks.”
Complaints just worse
And there are more studies that show that patients with long-term covid symptoms could benefit from a shot.
An overview of those studies can be found at the bottom of this article, but what is striking is that there are certainly patients in those studies whose complaints are reduced.
But there are also people who do not notice any change, and there is a small group whose complaints actually get worse.
Laundry list of complaints
The latter was also the case with Amsterdam’s Nadine Böke. She became infected with the corona virus in March last year, and now, more than a year later, still has a whole laundry list of complaints.
“I have problems with my lungs, and I struggle with memory problems and concentration problems. In addition, I have a rapidly rising heart rate, even with light exertion such as walking. If I continue, I risk fainting.”
She also suffers from stomach problems, and her temperature fluctuates quite a bit. “Sometimes I have a fever, but at other times my temperature is suddenly too low again. Last winter my temperature was sometimes only 34.5 degrees. That was very strange to experience.”
Hope for improvement
Nadine had also read the messages from abroad, and was happy when she could make an appointment for her first vaccination. “I read that some lung covid patients recovered from such a jab, so I was hoping for that too. It’s only a small improvement, every little bit helps in my case.”
But things turned out differently: after the injection, Nadine didn’t feel better, but worse. “I was in bed for three days with flu-like symptoms. I had counted on that, and that passed after three days.”
But her lung covid symptoms got worse, she wrote on Twitter last week:
It now seems to be getting a little better, but there does not seem to be any improvement in her previous lung covid complaints.
Still, she will get her second shot. “It is not clear how long a previous infection protects you, and I was sick for so long from last year’s infection that I do everything I can to not get sick again.”
She also has a glimmer of hope: that a second vaccination can still have a positive effect. “I read that some people only notice improvement after the second shot. Who knows, that may also apply to me.”
Research by AMC
Research is also being conducted on lung covid patients in the Netherlands. Virologist Menno de Jong of the AMC Amsterdam follows a group of about 300 corona patients, some of whom are struggling with long-term complaints.
De Jong also sees reports from abroad about a possible positive effect of vaccination on lung Covid symptoms, but he thinks it is too early to draw conclusions from this.
No control group
“There are a number of caveats to the results of these types of studies,” he says. “First of all, these studies do not include a control group, so a group that did not receive the vaccine or instead a placebo,” says De Jong. “You cannot rule out that the complaints would also have decreased without a vaccine or that people might feel better due to a placebo effect.”
Causes of lung covid
In an ideal scientific study, half of the research group would receive a vaccine and the other half a placebo, he says. “But of course that is not possible now. We are in the middle of a pandemic, it is important that everyone is vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Because this is not possible, it would in any case be good to understand how a vaccine could possibly help to reduce symptoms, says De Jong.
“For this, it is necessary to better understand the possible causes of lung covid. For example, does the virus perhaps remain longer in people with long-term complaints, causing the immune system to be disrupted for longer? You can then see whether a vaccine will solve this again.
Results coming soon
To investigate this, he and his colleagues are now following about 180 people who have already had corona and who have recently been vaccinated. About 90 of them were still suffering from long-term complaints at the time of vaccination. “They recently received their second shot. We are now collecting and analyzing the data.”
He expects to be able to say more about the results of that investigation in a month’s time.
Investigating the effect of a shot on lung covid complaints
A number of studies have currently been conducted or are in progress into the effect of vaccination on long-term corona complaints. None of these have been scientifically substantiated so far. An overview:
- In a ongoing study from Yale University researcher Akiko Iwasaki indicates that about 30 to 40 percent of lung covid patients who have received a corona vaccine notice that their complaints are reducing.
- In a small survey in the UK among 66 lung covid patients, 23 percent of 44 respondents who had been vaccinated said they had less breathing problems and joint pain a month after their vaccination. At the same time, 5.6 percent of the vaccinated indicated that their complaints had actually worsened.
- A British filmmaker who is struggling with lung covid complaints himself decided to investigate the question as well, and did a non-scientific survey of 345 lung covid patients. It found that 32 percent noticed some improvement a few weeks after a vaccination.
Source: RTL Nieuws by www.rtlnieuws.nl.
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