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This commentary addresses the phenomenon of persistent symptoms following recovery from the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The persistent symptoms are heterogeneous, including clouding of mentation, sleep disturbances, exercise intolerance, and autonomic symptoms, and many overlap with those of patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Possible etiopathogenic mechanisms include unmasking of underlying comorbidities, residual damage from acute infection, persistent immune activation, and others.
Much more needs to be learned about this phenomenon. With the pandemic continuing to spread, numbers are likely to increase, making this an important issue for practitioners.
– Codrin I. Lungu, MD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Modern medicine has faced its biggest challenge from the smallest of organisms. It is becoming increasingly apparent that many patients who recovered from the acute phase of the SARS-CoV-2 infection have persistent symptoms. This includes clouding of mentation, sleep disturbances, exercise intolerance and autonomic symptoms (table 1). Some also complain of persistent low grade fever and lymphadenopathy. Although there are no peer reviewed papers at the moment on these patients, many news articles have been written about this phenomenon and there are Facebook groups with several thousand patients describing these symptoms. They call the illness, “Long-Haul COVID” or “Long-tail COVID.” Many of these patients are health care workers who had massive exposure to the virus early in the pandemic and describe having symptoms for “100+ days.”