The Stream

What’s needed to defeat Long Covid?

On Tuesday, February 7 at 19:30 GMT:
Muscle weakness. Shortness of breath. “Brain fog”. Just some of the myriad symptoms that millions of people worldwide have withstood in the days, weeks and months after recovering from acute coronavirus infections.

News outlets routinely report the ebb and flow of new coronavirus cases, amid a global outbreak that has killed an estimated 5.7 million people. But the lingering long-term effect of the virus on Covid-19 ‘long haulers’ has led health policy experts to declare a “hidden pandemic“.

Long Covid doesn’t just affect individuals’ physical health. Many people with Long Covid say it has had a dire impact on aspects of family life – particularly parenting – and that their jobs have been hampered. Those afflicted face knocks to their education, career and social prospects as symptoms stretch out before them with little respite. Sufferers also say it takes a toll on their mental health.

Those with debilitating symptoms often report that doctors within already overstretched healthcare systems don’t take them seriously. And the sheer range of ailments bracketed under Long Covid make it harder for health professionals to bring sufferers any relief.

But now medical researchers are beginning to understand what may be driving the conditions affecting Covid long haulers. Researchers in South Africa suggest that microclots in the blood of certain Covid-19 patients may drive inflammatory responses that hamper their full physical recovery. Other investigative teams are examining the presence of ‘viral reservoirs’ that steadfastly remain in the body long after the acute phase of infection ends.

In this episode we’ll look at the physical and mental impact of Long Covid on individuals around the world, and the efforts underway to understand and address it.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Dr Resia Pretorius, @resiapretorius
Physiologist and Professor, Stellenbosch University

Noreen Jameel, @njameel9
Journalist, and Co-host of TLC Sessions podcast

Dr Asad Khan, @doctorasadkhan
Consultant Respiratory Physician, and Long Covid patient