Some chronic Covid patients who experience symptoms including fatigue and shortness of breath are showing signs of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, a Canadian study suggests. Based on the results of

Manali Mukherjee, who led the study and is a respiratory researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, said two specific abnormal antibodies, or autoantibodies, that att*ck healthy tissue and autoantibodies. The immune system causes disease, persisting in about 30 percent of patients after one year. They were impressed.

The research was based on blood samples from patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between August 2020 and September 2021 and received care at two hospitals in Vancouver and another hospital in Hamilton.


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What causes prolonged COVID? Canadian researchers believe they have found an important clue.


Persistence of autoantibodies for a year or more indicates that patients need to see a specialist who can check for signs of autoimmune disease. These include type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.


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Mukherjee said, “If you still have lingering Covid symptoms 12 months after COVID, please consider getting an arthritis check-up, just to make sure there’s no path to systemic disease.” “Yes,” said Mukherjee.

The study, which also included Dr. Chris Carlston from the University of British Columbia’s Department of Respiratory Medicine, was published Thursday in the European Respiratory Journal and involved 106 patients.

Mukherjee said the work supports emerging research on chronic COVID, which mostly affects women.

A study of 300 patients published in the journal Cell earlier this year by researchers in the United States was the first to show that autoantibodies in those infected with the virus led to prolonged symptoms of COVID. could, but this was limited to three to four months after recovery. , said Mukherjee.

Click to play video: 'Public health officials try to determine total number of Canadians with chronic Covid'

Public health officials have long been trying to determine the total number of Canadians with COVID.

Public health officials have long been trying to determine the total number of Canadians with COVID – June 3, 2022

A Swiss study of 90 patients published last April in the journal Allergy found that 40 percent of patients may have autoantibodies a year after infection.

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“But this study confirms the presence of specific autoantibodies and is associated with more fatigue and shortness of breath, two primary prolonged COVID symptoms at 12 months,” he said.

Mukherjee, who contracted Covid-19 in January 2021 after starting research on the disease, said he was experiencing fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches and brain fog.

“The headaches used to be really bad, and they happen again. You’ll be fine, and then all of a sudden, you’ll break out again,” he said, adding that he’s back to his usual energy levels. is back to about 75 percent but has learned to prioritize her health over working long hours and makes sure she gets enough sleep.

Mukherjee is now studying long-term Covid patients over two years to see how their levels of autoantibodies change over the long term.

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The Montreal Online Study recruits patients with long-standing COVID.

Calgary resident Sarah Olsen said COVID has prevented her from returning to her job as a kindergarten teacher for a long time since contracting the disease in January 2021.

“There’s no such thing as pushing. You get sicker and sicker in new ways,” said Olson, who has a nine-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter and suffers from brain fog, fatigue, shortness of breath and other symptoms. deal with

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“Until this spring, I couldn’t stand for long but I could walk at a moderate pace. Now, I can’t. I need a walker. I’ll be 41 this Saturday. And I need a walker.

Olson said he has also been diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, although Mukherjee said no definitive link has been established between this debilitating, long-term condition and prolonged COVID.

Olsen said the main concern is that she will never recover from Covid for a long time.

“If I’m not able to relax and manage my symptoms as quickly as I need to without stressing out, I have every reason to believe I’m going to continue to get worse,” she said through tears. I will continue to be.”

“Research needs to make some progress because they’re still trying to understand what the underlying cause is,” Olson said, which could mean treatment options are far from over. .

“We’re almost three years in and we’re still in the dark in a lot of ways.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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