Hope for longtime Covid patients as new study will test Pfizer’s antiviral Paxlovid in patients with persistent symptoms months later
- 100 people who had long Covid symptoms for more than 3 months will take Paxlovid
- Researchers want to see if it will help with brain fog, fatigue and weakness
- 1 in 13 US adults suffer from long Covid, with trial results expected next year
Paxlovid – an antiviral made by Pfizer – is now considered a possible long Covid treatment.
The pharmaceutical giant’s flagship Covid drug won emergency approval in the United States last December to treat high-risk patients – reducing their risk of death by 90%.
It is currently the only medicine you can take at home to treat Covid and has been given to millions of vulnerable Americans with underlying health conditions.
Now Stanford researchers are set to launch the drug’s first clinical trial to see that it can also provide relief to people who are still sick months and years after clearing the virus.
Previous research has indicated that people given the drug are a quarter less likely to suffer from Covid for a long time – which most often causes severe fatigue, brain fog and muscle weakness.
As of now, there is no proven treatment for long Covid, and no one knows what is causing the lingering symptoms.
A popular theory is that there may be remnants of the virus wreaking havoc in the body. A recent study has suggested that people with long-term Covid suffer physical alterations to their brains months after clearing the initial infection.
It is officially estimated that more than 15 million Americans have long Covid to varying degrees.
Trial participants will take the antiviral drug for ten days longer than people usually take it, to see if it takes longer to work
What is the long Covid?
Long Covid is an informal term, used to describe ongoing symptoms following a Covid infection that last longer than four weeks, according to the ONS.
A dizzying array of symptoms have been attributed to the long Covid, including:
- extreme tiredness (tiredness)
- shortness of breath
- chest pain or tightness
- memory and concentration problems (“brain fog”)
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Heart palpitations
- have ants
- articular pain
- depression and anxiety
- tinnitus, earache
- nausea, diarrhoea, upset stomach, loss of appetite
- high temperature, cough, headache, sore throat, changes in smell or taste
There is no cure for the disease, although the NHS recommends a number of treatments designed to help relieve symptoms.
The new study hopes to recruit 200 adults who have tested negative for Covid for three months but are still suffering from symptoms.
Half of the participants will receive Paxlovid and the other half will take a placebo.
To treat an infection, Paxlovid is taken as six pills a day for five days, but participants in the new study will take the drug for 15 days to test the theory that the drug needs longer to produce its full potential. effect.
The results of the trial are expected next year.
The first participant in the trial was Bill Fimbres, 67, from California, who has suffered from long-lasting Covid symptoms for a year and a half, including loss of smell and taste, debilitating fatigue and brain fog.
He said, “It’s like you have somebody else’s brain.”
Mr. Fimbres will take his first dose of medication or placebo on Monday.
He told NBC News: “If I could get rid of just one of my symptoms, that would be great.” I just go on hope.
There is already evidence that Paxlovid may delay symptoms in the long term.
A Department of Veterans Affairs study this month suggested that those who received the drug immediately after their Covid diagnosis were 26% less likely than those who did not take the antiviral to have symptoms lasting three months later.
However, the participants were all aged 60 or over with additional health conditions, meaning the results may not apply to everyone.
Long Covid has puzzled scientists and doctors since it first appeared on their radar in 2020.
Its causes have not been determined, but experts believe it may be linked to the body’s immune response to the virus.
There have also been known cases of people suffering long-term symptoms after suffering from more common viruses like the flu.
The CDC estimates that about 7.5% of American adults suffer from long Covid symptoms.
Those affected are usually under 50 and are more likely to be female. Long-term reports of Covid are most common in southern states like Kentucky and Alabama.
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