February 9, 2023

Does the covid-19 vaccine help prevent prolonged symptoms?

Read Time:4 Minute, 58 Second


(CNN Spanish) – One of the mysteries of the new coronavirus remains the randomness of the prolonged symptoms of the disease. Scientists around the world are seeking to learn what factors make a person more likely to experience persistent covid. In this episode, Dr. Elmer Huerta explores various studies.

You can listen to this episode on Spotify or your favorite podcast platform, or read the transcript below.


Hi, I’m Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your dose of information about the new coronavirus. Information that we hope will be useful to take care of his health and that of his family.

In the episode of February 9, we hear what is called “long-covid” or persistent covid, and how this condition – like many others in the history of Medicine – had to fight to be recognized by medical professionals. Health.

Today we will see that progress has been made in the last 5 months in the knowledge of this condition.

Research that seeks to address persistent covid

In the February episode we discussed that the concept of aftermath of covid-19 was expanded. From recognizing sequelae in patients who left hospitals and intensive care units after a serious illness, to the sequelae that began to appear in people who overcame mild to moderate covid-19 who did not need to be hospitalized.

Unfortunately, because most of the symptoms of prolonged covid are subjective and therefore difficult or impossible to prove with ancillary tests, we saw how many doctors did not give due importance to the patients who presented to their offices.

the british case

It was necessary for a British group without much scientific training, the organization Body Politic, to lead in May 2020an online survey that for the first time managed to collect data from 640 people affected by persistent symptoms after passing covid-19.

Shortly after, the April 1, 2021 The UK Office for National Statistics published the most important study on the subject, showing that more than a million British citizens were suffering from persistent symptoms after having passed covid-19.

The American study

Influenced by these studies, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, launched in february 2021 the national initiative to study persistent covid with a budget item of US$ 1,150 million.

The development of this 4-year study, called RECOVER —to recover—, which began at the beginning of this year 2022 and plans to study 40,000 people, is unfortunately very slow and arouses criticism from groups of scientists and patients alike.

The main criticism is that the study is more focused on data collection and not on the study of therapeutic measures aimed at relieving patients’ symptoms.

Also criticized is the fact that the recruitment of the 40,000 volunteers to the study is very slow. Bearing in mind that since the study began in early January 2022, only 1,366 patients had been recruited until March 18, a number that represents only 3% of the target number. Until the first week of julyonly 5,317 adults and 269 children had enrolled, representing just 15% of the total population of nearly 40,000.

Factors related to prolonged covid

In another first regarding prolonged covid, a British study called REACT-2, published in April 2022identified factors that were associated with a higher probability of developing persistent symptoms, such as:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • smoking
  • Use of electronic cigarettes
  • Hospitalization for covid-19
  • Being a health worker.

In another studiofrom Kings College London — the first peer-reviewed study to examine the relationship between the omicron variant and the risk of developing prolonged covid — found that the probability of experiencing this condition was 20% to 50% lower during the pandemic period caused by the omicron variant compared to that of the delta period.

The research, which studied more than 56,000 people, found that 4.4% of omicron cases developed prolonged covid, compared to 10.8% of delta cases. However, because omicron is so contagious, the absolute number of people who experienced prolonged covid was higher during the omicron-caused pandemic than during delta.

In this regard, the UK Office for National Statistics estimated that the number of people with prolonged covid actually increased from 1.3 million in January 2022 to 2 million as of May 1, 2022.

Does the vaccine help “prevent” prolonged symptoms of the disease?

Finally, some good news. A Italian Study published in the Journal of the American Association on July 1, conducted among healthcare workers with covid who did not require hospitalization, found that those who received 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine had a lower prevalence of prolonged covid.

More specifically, the study found that:

  • Men were 35% less likely to develop prolonged covid
  • Those who received two doses were 75% less likely
  • And those who received three doses were 84% less likely to develop the condition.

Conversely, elderly people, people with allergies and underlying diseases, had 23%, 50% and 32% higher risk, respectively.

In short, prolonged covid is already an entity recognized by science and it is feared that, due to its high frequency, it will be a condition that will overwhelm health services in the coming years.

We think that vaccination continues to be the main weapon, not only to reduce the probability of hospitalization and death, but also, as we have seen, to reduce the frequency of prolonged covid.


Do you have questions about covid-19?

Send me your questions on Twitter, we’ll try to answer them in our next episodes. you can find me at @DrHuerta.

If you find this podcast useful, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episode on your account. Help others find it by rating and reviewing it on your favorite podcast app.

And for the most up-to-date information you can always go to CNNEspanol.com. Thanks for your attention.





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