Mild to moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause immunological dysfunction to persist for 8 months

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A proportion of patients surviving acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection develop post-acute COVID syndrome (long COVID (LC)) lasting longer than 12 weeks.

Acute COVID-19, caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is characterized by a broad spectrum of clinical severity, from asymptomatic to fatal1,2. The immune response during acute illness contributes to both host defense and pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 (ref. 3).

Pronounced immune dysregulation with lymphopenia and increased expression of inflammatory mediators3,4 have been described in the acute phase. Following acute COVID-19 infection, a proportion of patients develop physical and neuropsychiatric symptoms lasting longer than 12 weeks (known as Long COVID, chronic COVID syndrome or post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (ref. 5)), henceforth denoted as LC.

Although similar syndromes have been described following infection with SARS-CoV-1 (ref. 6) and Middle East respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus7, LC often develops after mild-to-moderate COVID-19 (refs. 8,9).

Symptoms persisting 6 months were observed in 76% of hospitalized patients, with muscle weakness and fatigue being most frequently reported10,11. LC affects between 10% and 30% of community-managed COVID-19 cases 2 to 3 months after infection12,13 and can persist >8 months after infection14.

LC symptoms include severe relapsing fatigue, dyspnea, chest tightness, cough, brain fog and headache15. The underlying pathophysiology of LC is poorly understood.

reference link : https://www.nature.com/articles/s41590-021-01113-x#MOESM2

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