Doctors are increasingly inclined to believe that the coronavirus does not leave the human body and even after recovery continues to circulate inside, causing harm to many organs and systems, said the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova.
Nervous tissues and vessel walls are especially affected by long COVID; the virus also has an extremely negative effect on the immune system.
HOW RESILIENT IS THE CORONAVIRUS IN THE BODY?
According to studies, SARS-CoV-2 “positive samples” can be obtained from the upper respiratory tract (nasopharynx) for up to 2.5 months (maximum). Nikolay Kryuchkov, Candidate of Medical Sciences, immunologist, General Director of the contract research company, told Komsomolskaya Pravda. From the lower respiratory tract (lungs and small bronchi – bronchioles) – up to 2 months. From stool samples (intestines) – up to 4 months. From blood samples – in the region of 2 months.
The average duration of the “survivability” of coronavirus in the body is measured in two to three weeks
COVID “ON THE WHOLE HEAD”
However, the coronavirus has another feature. SARS-CoV-2 messenger RNAs, which usually live for hours, continue to exist in the body of a person who has had covid-19 for much longer than one might expect.
For example, in the blood (immunocytes), such genetic fragments of the virus can be detected within a year from the moment of acute covid disease. Often these are fragments of the S-protein and N-protein of the coronavirus.
Such genetic fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can also be found in the brain, in the cerebral cortex and hypothalamus, in the cerebellum, in the olfactory and optic nerves, in the tissues of the eyes, in the heart (aorta), less often — in the intestines, liver, thymus (immune organ) and lymph nodes, especially those that are associated with the lungs.
Fragments of the virus stay in organs and tissues for a shorter time than in the blood – for a period of several months.
– Somehow these parts of the virus are maintained there and, perhaps, there are even separate mechanisms of replication (reproduction) of these parts, – says Nikolai Kryuchkov. – They can “clog up” metabolic processes in the body, affect metabolism, and inflammation.
WHAT IS THE RISK OF LONG-TERM COVID? THE “VIRAL MAFIA” IS WAKING UP
Such a long stay of the virus in the body creates prerequisites for other viruses, so to speak, “dormant” in the body, to be activated.
These are herpes viruses, cytomegalovirus infection (transmitted, in particular, through sexual contact, household contact, and can manifest itself as a long cold – editor’s note), Epstein-Barr virus (this is a human herpes virus type 4, which is considered the main culprit in the development of infectious mononucleosis and tumors, in particular Burkitt’s lymphoma – editor’s note).
The picture is also supplemented by excessively strong stimulation of the immune system, as a result of which it itself, sometimes very aggressively, and sometimes less vividly, begins to attack the cells and tissues of the human body, trying to clear the body of the virus.
WHAT IS THE RESULT?
“Ironically, this hyperactivation of the immune system can itself support long-term inflammation in the body. Such an inflammatory process can occur in the central nervous system, in the heart, in the blood vessels, in the lungs, and in the upper respiratory tract.
– This condition leads to disturbances in the work of the autonomic nervous system: to dizziness experienced at a quick change of body position, to an increased heartbeat, sweating, a superficial disturbance of thermoregulation (cold hands and feet).
WHO IS AT RISK FOR LONG-TERM COVID?
– These are people with various types of immunodeficiency and chronic diseases, especially those that weaken the immune system.
– There is evidence that the symptoms of long-term covid are more common in women and are directly related to age, the older a person is, the greater their risk of long-term covid.
REMOTE RISKS: WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO US?
“Such a long covid has the potential to affect brain function in 10 to 15 years in some people and lead to the risk of certain types of dementia and strokes.
– The work of the male reproductive system is also affected: that is spermatogenesis and blood supply to the corresponding organs and tissues.
HOW TO BE TREATED?
– Together with a doctor, treat the arisen complexes of symptoms, be it a blood clotting disorder, treat inflammation, improve the work of the central nervous system and treat brain fog, improve the work of the heart – for those who have have something “leaked”.
– Most likely, immunological methods of treating long-term covid and its consequences will also be developed, our expert believes. So far, vaccination can be considered as such a method of boosting the immune system.
– From general recommendations.:
– translated from a page belonging to National Research University “Higher School of Economics”
– moderate aerobic exercise, but on a regular basis (walking in the open air),
– recreation (vacations and travel are mandatory).
– Nikolay, can we say that the current versions of Omicron are less likely to cause long-term covid than the original version of the virus?
– I can’t say so, because there is evidence that a more severe post-covid state develops just in those who have had moderate and not severe covid. There is still a lot of long-term covid and post-covid on Omicron variants as well.
by the way
According to the latest data, at least 65 million people worldwide suffer from a long-term course of COVID, with the number of cases increasing every day.
It is still not clear how long covid is associated with the severity of the disease. One study found that up to 70% of people at low risk of dying from COVID-19 developed disorders in one or more organs (such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, or spleen) 4 months after the first symptoms of COVID-19 appeared.
PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING IS VERY IMPORTANT
There is evidence that whether long-term covid develops or not largely depends on the psychological state of the person at the time of infection. So scientists from Harvard University evaluated the results of three large studies with a total number of participants of more than 55 thousand people. We looked at participants ‘ levels of stress, both physical and psychological. At the start of the study, there were no infected people, 3,193 participants had contracted a coronavirus infection, 1,403 of them (43%) developed long-term covid.
Baseline increased anxiety increased the risk of long-term covid by 42%, depression-by 32%, neuroticism and loss of ability to adapt well to what is happening — increased the risk of long-term covid by 37%, increased stress levels-by 46% and loneliness-by 32%. Among the features of the study-38% of participants work in the healthcare sector, which increased the risks. [Pravda]
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