Covid: The ‘dysfunction’ in the body that’s present a year after infection – new discovery

Covid: The ‘dysfunction’ in the body that’s present a year after infection – new discovery

30/06/2022

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Some of these symptoms, say researchers from the University of Milan, are caused by long-standing thyroid gland infections.

The thyroid gland is situated in the neck and is responsible for the production of hormones necessary for the body to function properly.

According to the Italian researchers, the COVID-19 virus can affect how these glands work for up to a year after initial infection after reports from patients experiencing “thyroid dysfunction”.

The University of Milan’s Illaria Muller said: “There is a clear link between thyroid dysfunction and COVID-19 disease.

The hormones the thyroid gland releases into the body are essential for the body’s growth, metabolism, and development.

Furthermore, the gland will release extra hormones when the body needs a boost of energy, such as during pregnancy.

In a study of Covid patients, thyroiditis was a frequent occurrence.

Thyroiditis occurs when the thyroid gland becomes inflamed.

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What are the symptoms of thyroiditis?

Symptoms will depend on the type of thyroiditis the patient has developed; there are five forms:
• Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
• De Quervain’s thyroiditis
• Postpartum thyroiditis
• Painless thyroiditis
• Drug-induced thyroiditis
• Radiation-induced thyroiditis
• Acute or infectious thyroiditis.

Depending on the form of the condition, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Meanwhile, the focus continues on not just what causes long Covid, but how it can be treated.

A new avenue is being looked into by University College London.

The team are looking into whether blood thinners could be used to alleviate symptoms; the basis behind this experiment is due to the relationship between COVID-19 and an increased risk of blood clots.

As a result, blood thinners could help to reduce the associated risks of Covid.

The Stimulate-ICP trial, due to start recruiting soon, will be one of the first UK trials to look at this link.

While there is a possibility blood thinners could be effective, Professor Betty Raman of the University of Oxford said: “There needs to be more dedicated studies looking at the efficacy of anticoagulants (blood thinners), just like we how we did with [treatments for] the acute unwell patients.”

University College London’s Professor Ami Banerjee echoes this point, concluding there is not yet conclusive proof.

However, with some patients beginning to feel left behind by the lack of new treatments, any avenue of research is one filled with hope and possibility for an improved quality of life.

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