The University of Melbourne conducted a study, from January 2020 to October 2022 that involved over 12,000 participants. The study examined long COVID’s ability to last, and its correlation with different SARS-CoV-2 variants. The results showed a clear trend, where nearly 40% of individuals who had contracted COVID-19 had reported persisting symptoms associated with long COVID. The study observed a lessoning likelihood of COVID-19 causing lasting symptoms as the pandemic advanced. It was also revealed that individuals infected by the more recent Omicron variant were less prone to developing long COVID, with only 12% reporting persisting symptoms.


The study also revealed some demographic factors that influenced long COVID risk. Notably, women, individuals aged 40-49, and those with a history of chronic illness, anxiety, depression, or severe COVID-19 were identified as being at a higher risk for long COVID. In addition, the decrease in long COVID with newer strains did not appear to be solely attributed to vaccination rates, suggesting the involvement of other contributing factors. This new understanding of long COVID could pave the way for further exploration, offering insights into immunological and autoimmune mechanisms, and potentially shaping broader health research. Furthermore, the impact of long COVID, has caused 36 million people to still feel unwell up to weeks, months, and even years after contracting COVID-19.

Overall, the study underscores the widespread impact of long COVID, emphasizing the need for refined strategies in prevention, treatment, and support for individuals grappling with lasting symptoms after a COVID-19 infection. The evolving nature of the virus and its varying impact on different demographic groups highlight the importance of ongoing research to enhance our understanding and response to the long-term effects of COVID-19.

In AP Bio, we recently learned about the body’s immune system. The immune system is a complex network of cells that work together to protect the body from harmful pathogens. When a virus enters the body, phagocytic cells, like macrophages and dendritic cells, engulf the virus particles through phagocytosis.
Then, the virus is broken down into small peices. These pieces are presented on the cell surface as antigens. Those viral antigens are then presented to the helper T cells and once the helper T cells bind to the viral antigen, they become activated. Then the activated helper T cells release cytokines which starts the immune response and activated the other cells. The newly activated cells are helper B cells, cytotoxic T cells, and Memory B and T cells. The helper B cells have receptors that are specific to the viral antigens so they can directly recognize the virus. These cells begin to multiply. The cytotoxic T cells are able to directly kill the already infected cells, stopping the spread of the virus. They do this by releasing perforin into the cell, which tells the cell’s lysosomes to burst so the cell gets destroyed from the inside out. In addition there are plasma B cells which prevent the virus from infecting anymore cells. Then the memory cells remember the virus’ specific antigens so if the same virus infects again in the future, a faster response can be launched.

The immune system’s ability to recognise, combat, and remember viruses is what allows us to survive.

I chose this topic because one of my math teachers said he had long COVID and it was absolutely miserable so I wanted to learn more about it.

What is changing in the immune system that allows COVID-19 systems to persist in some and not others?


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