Special on COVID-19
If more than four weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2, despite the negative test, some symptoms persist, we speak of Long-COVID. This condition, which precludes a full return to the previous state of health, can affect, according to a study published in Nature Medicine, up to one in two people, and can leave a trail even months later. Despite the vast impact on the population, and although it has been recognized as a specific clinical entity, knowledge about Long-COVID is still scarce and subject to numerous investigations.
Among the most frequent symptoms are reported fatigue and, in addition to this, the "mental fog", i.e. memory problems and difficulty in concentrating, but also the loss of smell and taste. Important seem to be the neurological consequences (headache, anxiety and stress, in addition to difficulties in concentration and attention) and cardio-respiratory (chest pain, tachycardia and palpitations, dyspnea and persistent cough). It is not yet clear whether all this is the result of damage exerted directly by the virus against one or more organs, or the immune response triggered by the virus but then "diverted", i.e. transformed into a kind of autoimmunity against organs and tissues.
The factors that favor the risk of developing Long-COVID seem to be: advanced age, female sex, obesity and hospitalization.
Read more in the report "Interim Guidance on Principles of Management of Long-COVID".