A study published in Nature on Sept 18 (Accelerated Article Preview) and reported in Medscape, has found biomarkers that identify long COVID with 96 percent accuracy based on distinctive features in blood samples. The cross-sectional research involved 273 individuals with or without long COVID. These findings are critically important since the CDC reports that more than three-quarters of adults in the U.S., 16 and older, have contracted COVID-19.
While the numbers for long COVID patients have dropped to 6 percent of the population, 26.4 percent of these patients have reported significant quality of life impairment and limitations in their ability to perform day-to-day activities. Debilitating effects—including unremitting fatigue, post-exertional malaise, cognitive impairment, and autonomic dysfunctions—may last for months or even years.
“Long COVID is a manifestation of post-viral Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and its disabling effects have been seen following other viral outbreaks, including H1N1, SARS, MERS,” says board certified internist Jacob Teitelbaum, who specializes in treating patients with CFS and the post-viral syndrome.
The Nature study showed that people with long COVID had:
- Abnormal T cell activity (one measure of our immune activity).
- Low levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol. “Cortisol helps people feel alert and awake, and modulates immunity, which would explain why people with long COVID often report fatigue,” said researchers. “It was one of the findings that most definitively separated people with long COVID from those without long COVID.”
- Reactivation of latent viruses including Epstein-Barr and mononucleosis. “Other research has shown that treating the Epstein-Barr virus can be one helpful component of helping people recover from CFS and its painful cousin, fibromyalgia,” says Dr. Teitelbaum.
“All three of these challenges are addressed by the SHINE treatment protocol we developed for treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and post-viral CFS. Our randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (8:2,2001) found that 91 percent of patients treated using SHINE benefited with an average 90 percent improvement in quality of life.”
“Now that we can definitively identify patients who have long COVID, we also have a proven method to treat the condition and help people get their lives back,” says Dr. Teitelbaum, who has completed eight studies on effective treatment for CFS and fibromyalgia, including the post-viral form seen in long COVID.
Want to learn more about Dr. Teitelbaum’s proven treatment plan for long COVID? He will be our guest on an upcoming episode of our new podcast… Subscribe here.