Globally, about 294 million people have been infected with the coronavirus, with more than 5.8 million deaths.
Since the first cases were discovered in central China in December 2019, infections have been reported in over 210 countries and territories.
Now, a South African scientist believes she and her colleagues have discovered a crucial answer to the enigma of long COVID.
In an op-ed published Wednesday, Resia Pretorius, the head of the science department at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, wrote, “A recent investigation in my lab found that there is significant microclot formation in the blood of both acute COVID-19 and long COVID patients.”
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She discovered a correlation between microclots and lengthy COVID, which she believes is a critical step toward better understanding the disease that affects 100 million people worldwide.
Resia Pretorius and her team discovered large quantities of inflammatory chemicals “locked” in the persistent microclots seen in extended COVID patients during the summer.
In June, the Department of Human and Health Services issued new guidelines that define some long-term COVID symptoms as an impairment under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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According to the Pretorius’s op-ed “Patients with long Covid complain of numerous symptoms, the main ones being recurring fatigue and brain fog, muscle weakness, being out of breath and having low oxygen levels, sleep difficulties and anxiety or depression. Some patients are so sick that they cannot work or even walk a few steps. There is possibly also an elevated risk of stroke and heart attacks. One of the biggest sources of concern is that even mild and sometimes asymptomatic initial Covid-19 infection may lead to debilitating, long-term disability.”
According to a study published in November by researchers at the University of Michigan, as many as 100 million people worldwide have or have had lengthy COVID.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a patient is diagnosed with protracted COVID when the consequences of a COVID-19 infection last for longer than four weeks.
While elderly persons and those with major medical issues are more prone to have protracted COVID, many young and healthy people have reported feeling ill for weeks or even months after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
(With inputs from agencies)