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In recent months there has been a lot of emphasis on post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), more commonly referred to as long hauler syndrome. The long version of COVID may impact up to 30 percent of those infected with the virus, and currently there is no cure. Today at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on “Examining Our Covid-19 Response: An Update from Federal Officials,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed everything that is being done to study long COVID. Read on to find out what the government is doing to help long haulers—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Says PASC is Being Studied As We Speak
Dr. Fauci started by emphasizing that the condition is “really serious” and a “real issue,” adding that “it's not imaginary,” he said. He also confirmed that the National Institutes of Health and CDC have invested around 1.15 billion dollars to study the condition, “looking at the scope of this real phenomenon, the sequelae, what the ultimate pathogenesis is, cause we don't know what the mechanisms are,” he said. “We're putting together large cohort studies to be able to find out what the incidence of it is, what the variability, what the range of organ system dysfunctions are and what the underlying pathogenic mechanism.” The cohorts involve “tens of thousands of people,” he added. “So we are all looking at that seriously.”
Dr. Fauci Reiterated They’ve Launched a Major Program to Identify Effective Therapies
Later Fauci reiterated: “We've initiated a major program to the tune of $1.15 billion that we're doing at the NIH. Also in collaboration with the CDC and following cohorts of individuals to determine the incidents, the prevalence, how long these symptoms last. We have some studies say they go out up to eight months or longer.” And: “What about the treatment of them? It is very difficult to devise a therapeutic regimen when you don't know what the underlying pathogenic mechanism of the disease is. And that's the real stumbling block here and why we are intensively studying these individuals, because although it is an absolutely real phenomenon, we don't have any pathogenic mechanisms right now that we're certain of that has a commonality among all of them. We will find that out. And when we do, then we'll be able to devise hopefully appropriate and effective therapies.”
Dr. Fauci Says We Should Not Deny Benefits to Long Haulers
“People are really suffering from this,” said Dr. Fauci. “We know about 30% of all COVID patients really continue to suffer from some form of ill-defined symptoms, prolonged fatigue, brain fog. As some people are calling that it may render folks unable to go to work. It puts them at risk for continued social isolation and other kinds of issues…And so we have to be sure that we don't deny benefits to these folks who have the long haul symptoms.”
The CDC is Also Studying Long Haulers
Dr. Walensky chimed in on the mental health side, revealing that they are also working to understand that aspect of the virus, and that it is a multi-part process. “First of all, we need to collect the data we need to understand in real time what the impacts of this are,” she said. “We need to work with our state and local health departments to ensure that the resources that they have can be disseminated to their local jurisdictions, that we have toolkits on education on culturally sensitive prevention strategies for, for prevention of depression, tool kits for mental health resources to provide,” she said. “Then we are working to do the science to and cohort studies exactly as Dr. Fauci noted on both the mental health issues, as well as on the long haul issues.”
How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
Contact a medical professional if you feel you have Long COVID. They may not understand the issue but can help relieve certain symptoms. Also get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.