In early 2020, the entire world suddenly stopped due to COVID-19. Even as time passed and the deadly rampage of the disease slowly died down, its effects could still be felt. In 2021, Jayson Tatum, a star basketball player for the Boston Celtics, admitted that COVID caused him to use an inhaler before games so he could open up his lungs, even months after he actually had it. Being a big Jayson Tatum fan, I wondered what caused that, but there wasn’t much research on the long-term effects of COVID at the time. Now, a recent ScienceNews article shows that even 2-3 years later, COVID-19 can affect those who contracted it during the height of the pandemic. This phenomenon, called long COVID, could lead to fatigue, blood clots, and even heart disease.Jayson Tatum

The study shown in the article used the health records of 140,000 veterans who were infected with COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic and compared it to about 6 million people who were not reportedly affected by COVID-19. The researchers in the study found that people with past battles with COVID were more at risk of contracting other diseases or having health complications. Though research on why this happens isn’t conclusive yet, recent researchers have discovered that people who experience long COVID tend to have traces of the Sars-CoV-2 in their poop even months after having the virus, which suggests that some of the virus still remains in their guts. This triggers the immune system to act, specifically the innate cellular defenses, which (in this case) is unnecessarily activated due to the detection of the strains of COVID-19 in the gut. This may explain the symptoms felt due to long COVID because as the immune system works, histamine is released, which causes expansion of blood vessels and swelling of fluid/inflammation, explaining many of the symptoms of long COVID, such as trouble breathing, are related to inflammation in the body. On top of this, the strains of Sars-Cov-2 lead to long COVID because the interferons, which are another part of the innate cellular defense, reduce the absorption of an amino acid called tryptophan. Without tryptophan, the body can’t make neurotransmitters like serotonin; the lack of serotonin and other neurotransmitters is what scientists currently believe causes long COVID symptoms.

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Long COVID is a severe problem that has affected billions worldwide. As of now, there is no way to cure it, so it’s essential to try your best to avoid getting COVID-19. People who have underlying health conditions, have been seriously harmed by COVID-19, or don’t have any vaccinations against COVID-19 are the most likely to contract long-term COVID. Another way to avoid long COVID is to stay up-to-date on COVID vaccinations. Many people don’t even know what long-term COVID is. Did you know about long COVID? If not, write about what you learned in the comments.