In the past few weeks, there have been several developments in the fight against the 2019 novel coronavirus. On the positive end, vaccine trials are proceeding as intended, new testing methods have been developed, and there is promising news from leading immunologists. On the other hand, reports of rising COVID-19 cases, surging mental health issues such as depression, and others serve as a reminder that the fight against SARS-CoV-2 is not over. With many recoveries reported, experts worry about the long-term effects of the disease.
For now, it remains unknown how the immune systems of some people are able to fight against the virus even at first exposure. Researchers are now dedicating their efforts to isolate ways to encourage the production of antibodies that would instantly recognise and stop the infection. They hope to find a way to help people avoid the lasting effects of COVID-19 such as chronic fatigue, brain fog, dry cough, breathing difficulties, and more.
It's not uncommon for COVID-19 patients to endure a major setback in their recovery after too much physical activity. In fact, doctors say feeling weak or foggy after normal tasks has become a distinct pattern among patients with long-lasting symptoms, reports Business Insider. It reminds them of another condition that's also still somewhat mysterious: chronic fatigue syndrome.
"There's talk in the medical community about a chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness that could happen after coronavirus," said Dr. Nate Favini, the medical lead at Forward, a primary-care practise that's collecting data on coronavirus patients in the United States. "Unfortunately, there will be a small subset of people for whom that becomes the case and these symptoms really do become a chronic thing that you're dealing with for years."
What worries experts the most is the fact that there is no approved cure or treatment against chronic fatigue syndrome. In fact, studies are still being conducted to understand it better as it shares some similarities with illnesses like fibromyalgia. Furthermore, there are no tests that can diagnose if a person is suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. This stresses the fact that there is still more to learn about COVID-19 as well as the long-term effects that follow recovery.