One of the many distinct characteristics of the COVID-19 virus is its ability to cause prolonged symptoms six to twelve months following resolution of the infection. Fatigue, brain fog, arthralgias, shortness of breath and even emotional symptoms, such as anxiety and depression are among the most commonly experienced symptoms of what is commonly referred to as long COVID.
Recently, dozens of researchers at several top-tier universities uncovered four predisposing factors that can contribute to patients experiencing long COVID. The study involved 209 patients who were surveyed regarding 20 symptoms associated with long COVID.
The researchers found that 37% of the patients reported three or more symptoms of long COVID two to three months post-infection. Another 24% reported one or two symptoms, and 39% reported no symptoms. Of those patients reporting three or more symptoms, 95% had one or more of the following biological factors:
- Higher levels of coronavirus RNA in the blood early in the infection which is an indicator of a higher viral load and is more common in patients who cannot mount a strong initial immune response
- The presence of certain autoantibodies – antibodies that mistakenly attack tissues in the body (These were found in two-thirds of the patients.)
- The reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus which infects most people during youth and then becomes dormant
- The presence of Type 2 diabetes
These findings suggest that minimizing viral load would lessen the chance of a patient developing the autoantibodies that are typically found in those suffering from long COVID.
The immune system plays a critical role in minimizing viral load. When treating COVID-19, there are several measures that can be taken to strengthen the immune system while simultaneously attacking the virus in order to reduce the chances of developing long COVID. First, take adequate amounts of Zinc as well as Vitamins C and D. In addition to providing an immunity boost, Zinc has been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases. Next, keep physical and emotional stress at a minimum as this directly weakens the immune system. Finally, Ivermectin or other antivirals can be used to directly attack the virus.
Terry Pfau DO, HMD