COVID-19 survivors may suffer severe health effects for years, research shows


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Around the world, more than a million people have recovered from the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

However, beating the virus isn’t the end-all for some survivors.

Small-scale studies conducted in Hong Kong and Wuhan, China – where the pandemic first began late last year – show that survivors deal with poorer functioning in their heart, liver, and lungs, Bloomberg reports.

Researchers are just beginning to track the long-term health of survivors, but are analyzing past epidemics caused by similar viruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

Those past viruses show that the aftermath can last more than a decade.

According to one study, SARS survivors suffered lung infections, higher cholesterol levels, and were becoming sick more frequently than other people for as long as 12 years after the epidemic grappled Asia in 2003.

Professor Nicholas Hart, the British physician who treated Prime Minister Boris Johnson, called coronavirus “this generation’s polio.”

A study of blood samples from 25 recovered patients in Wuhan additionally found that they had not fully recovered normal functioning regardless of the severity of their coronavirus symptoms, according to a paper published April 7.

In another study, CT scans taken over a month from 90 Wuhan coronavirus patients found that of the 70 discharged from the hospital, 66 had mild to substantial residual lung abnormalities on their last CT scans, according to a March paper published in Radiology.

Additionally, in an April 3 paper by doctors at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, it was reported that chronic cardiac complications could arise in patients even after recovery as a result of persistent inflammation. Doctors there based their analysis on patient data from Italy and China.

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