The challenge of dealing with the long-term effects of Covid: The Dainik Tribune


Rakesh Kochhar

It has been more than two years since the world saw the onset of the Kovid-19 pandemic, it has come 100 years after the Spanish flu that hit humanity hard. Several variations of SARS-CoV-2 in India have caused frequent waves, with the delta variant being the deadliest to date. There are reports of new cases rising again in many countries, behind which a hybrid version of Delta and Omicron is being explained. The next wave of Kovid is likely to come to India as well, but hopefully, with mass vaccination, we may be able to avoid a situation like last year.

In people affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the disease was very serious, the symptoms developed between 4 and 5 days after being infected. For example, fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, loss of taste or smell, and diarrhea were the main ones. The affected person usually recovers within 7-10 days of the onset of symptoms, while those who are very ill or very severe take 3 to 6 weeks to recover. However, a significant number of the victims belong to the so-called ‘Long Kovid’. Also called postcovid syndrome. These trends may be continuous or resurface after intervals. The definition of Long-Covid was first used on social media, meaning that symptoms persist for weeks or months after the onset of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The new term long-holler was first used for this stage by early childhood teacher Amy Watson and science journalist Ed Yong.

The PCR report of most patients with postcovid syndrome is negative, indicating that their microbiology is good. Post covid or long covid can be divided into two phases depending on the duration of symptoms. First, acute post covid where symptoms last more than three weeks but less than 12 weeks, and second, chronic covid where symptoms last more than 12 weeks. There are reports that 50-80 percent of people with COVID may have long-term symptoms of unstable duration, some may have more severe effects, and their quality of life is affected. More than 50 of these symptoms have been identified, the most common being persistent fatigue. Then comes the number, headache, loss of attention, loss of smell or taste, difficulty breathing and coughing. In patients whose lungs are affected, the resulting fibrosis (hardening of the fibers) limits respiratory capacity.

Cases of cardio-arterial complications were observed not only in patients affected by covid but also in asymptomatic individuals. Myocardial isolation tests have been found in 20-30 percent of those hospitalized with very severe COVID conditions. People with long-term covid symptoms have seen an increase in cardiometabolic demand, fibrosis or myocardial scarring, persistent left ventricular dysfunction, heart failure, arrhythmias, and autonomic dysfunction. Long-term chest pain, changes in breathing, and fatigue have been found repeatedly in these patients even after recovery. One of the main concerns of long-term COVID symptoms is the impact on mental health, such as depression, stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. People who have recovered from COVID-19 have been found to be extremely tired, with post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse and uncertain lives, impotence and fear, especially whether or not they will recover. Those who somehow found hospital beds or medications during the wave or are suffering from treatment difficulties in overcrowded intensive care units, their effects linger on their hearts and minds for a long time. In some cases, thromboembolic complications have occurred during or after covid infection that have resulted in a stroke or heart attack, leading to a debate about the need for prophylactic use of anticoagulant drugs.

Another concern is the appearance of diabetics after they have been infected with the crown virus. There are reports of new cases of type 2 diabetes in patients with Kovid. This may be related to the effect of the virus on the pancreas or to drugs such as steroids during treatment. Kidney complications also make Long Kovid dizzy. In those with very severe covid disease, long-term remission of the disease can affect a particular organ or can lead to diabetes, chronic shortness of breath, shortness of breath, chronic kidney disease due to infection.

Studies show that severe cases of COVID, where immunosuppressive drugs were given during treatment, are six times more likely to develop prolonged symptoms of COVID than typical COVID patients. In addition, of those in need of oxygen, 40% complained of worrying long-term symptoms of COVID. Women are twice as likely to have long-term symptoms of covid. People who had other illnesses in the past, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, also had longer covids. The frequency of getting a long covid vaccine is lower in those who get the Kovid vaccine compared to those who do not.

The COVID pandemic has stimulated joint international research and accelerated the adoption of new immunosuppressive drugs and treatment policies. In contrast to decades of research into the development of a new vaccine, the world saw a variety of vaccines being made within a year of the discovery of the genomic structure of SARS-CoV-2. Although no products based on mRNA technology were approved until 2020, in two years, the success of anti-Covid mRNA vaccines has paved the way for this technology and research. Also for India, it has been very satisfying to develop a native vaccine.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Some damage to the body can be permanent, such as pulmonary fibrosis or autoimmune disorders. Long-term studies can shed some light on these. Meanwhile, these patients need care, as there is often no solid evidence of disease and patients do not find or seek appropriate care. Many people are told that this is just a “deception of the mind” because some doctors are unaware of the sequential effects of the disease. In this sense, the issuance of Comprehensive National Guidelines for the management of the post-covid situation of doctors by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is commendable. At the same time, more support groups like India Kovid Savior Group for people with persistent Kovid symptoms need help.

The author is a former president of the Indian Society of Gastroenterology.

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