What is long Covid? Study says virus can spread to heart and brain within days, stays for months

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 28, 2021, 11:37 PM(IST)

Scientist refutes claims around 'Deltacron' variant Photograph:( WION Web Team )

Story highlights

Brain fog, fatigue, chest pain, depression or anxiety are some of the side effects that many people who were tested positive for Covid claimed to have suffered for months

Many COVID-19 patients have complained that the symptoms or the side effects of the virus sometimes persist for months - it can be a case of long Covid. Long Covid is described when signs and symptoms of the virus last for a few weeks or months after having a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Studies have found that the virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain and when it happens, the risk of long-term Covid-related health problems gets increased. 

Brain fog, fatigue, chest pain, depression or anxiety are some of the side effects that many people, who were tested positive for Covid, claimed to have suffered for months. 

ALSO READ | 'Do not resuscitate': Scientists detect 'brain tsunamis' in human beings

A new study by the researchers from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims that the virus can spread to the heart and brain within days. The study also revealed that the virus can survive in organs for months.

However, those who can relate to the mentioned problems, need to understand that the yet to be peer-reviewed research relates to fatal Covid cases. It has not based on people with long Covid issues. 

The findings of the report have been released online in a manuscript that is under review for publication in Nature. For the study, the researchers have analysed tissues taken during autopsies of 44 patients who had died after contracting coronavirus. 

ALSO READ | Implant helps paralysed man make social media post with just thought in Australia

They have found that the virus can travel from one organ to another; one of the reasons why patients have complained of symptoms affecting organs besides the respiratory system or those organs which are generally not affected by Covid. 

As per the study, researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in multiple parts of the body, including the brain, even as many as 230 days after infection. 

"Our results collectively show that while the highest burden of SARS-CoV-2 is in the airways and lung, the virus can disseminate early during infection and infect cells throughout the entire body, including widely throughout the brain," the team, led by Daniel Chertow wrote.

"We show that SARS-CoV-2 is widely distributed, even among patients who died with asymptomatic to mild COVID-19, and that virus replication is present in multiple pulmonary and extrapulmonary tissues early in infection," the researchers wrote.

"Further, we detected persistent SARS-CoV-2 RNA in multiple anatomic sites, including regions throughout the brain, for up to 230 days following symptom onset," they added. 

Read in App