Scientists have identified 12 key symptoms of long COVID, bringing us closer to potential treatment options. Dr. Leora Horwitz, co-principal investigator for the RECOVER Clinical Science Core at NYU Langone Health, stated that this discovery is an important step towards defining long COVID, which will serve as a foundation for scientific discovery and treatment design. The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health as part of the RECOVER initiative, found that long COVID was more prevalent and severe in study participants who were infected before the 2021 Omicron variant, unvaccinated, or reinfected. The symptoms include post-exertional malaise (debilitating fatigue that worsens after physical or mental activity), fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, heart palpitations, issues with sexual desire or capacity, loss of smell or taste, thirst, chronic cough, chest pain, and abnormal movements.
Over 100 million Americans have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, with an estimated 6% of those infected experiencing long COVID. As Dr. Rachel L. Levine, assistant secretary for health, notes, those with long COVID want answers about what is happening to their bodies. By identifying these symptoms, researchers hope to pave the way for potential treatments.