Status: 25/09/2023, 17:21 p.m.
By: Nadja Zinsmeister
One study found that in many cases, Long Covid damages more than the lungs. The brain and kidneys can also have persistent problems.
London – A study on the long-term effects of Long Covid has found that patients have suffered damage not only to their lungs, but also to other organs. One third of the patients examined showed damage to several organs five months after infection. The authors of the so-called C-MORE study therefore call for more caution in dealing with the coronavirus in the population.
Long Covid can cause lasting damage to the kidneys and brain in addition to the lungs
"We found that patients who were previously hospitalized were three times more likely to have abnormalities in multiple organs, including the lungs, brain and kidneys, five months after discharge," the study's leader, Dr Betty Raman, told Sky News. In total, the study examined more than 250 people of different ages and genders who had required hospitalization in the UK in the past due to a severe corona infection. The results were published in the scientific journal "The Lancet Respiratory Medicine" at the end of September.
A self-test for Covid-19 is available on several FFP2 masks. © Jens Kalaene/dpa
In all cases, the lungs were the most affected by persistent problems. In the previous Covid-19 patients, the abnormalities in the lungs were almost fourteen times higher than in the control group without corona disease, while the abnormalities in the brain and kidneys were three and twice as high, respectively. "So it even seems to affect the mental health of patients who have previously been hospitalized with this infection," Raman continued. According to the study authors, how severely the organs were affected depended on age, pre-existing conditions and other factors.
According to experts, Long Covid is more than a respiratory virus: "Long-term damage to the health of people throughout the population"
Dr Margaret O'Hara, one of the founders of Long Covid Support, told Sky News: "It is now abundantly clear that it is not just a respiratory virus, but that it is causing long-term damage to the health of people across the population, including the large number of people who have not been hospitalised in the acute phase of infection."
Worldwide, about 65 million people are considered post-Covid sufferers, according to the "Not Recovered" group, because they still suffer from one or more of the 200 known symptoms more than three months after the acute phase of the disease. Those affected often lack a perspective, because the persistent symptoms sometimes restrict the entire everyday life. "In the meantime, I have given up hope of becoming 'the old one' again. Instead, I feel like my nervous system has fundamentally changed. My goal remains to be able to live better with the deficits," said a patient from the district of Verden in an interview with the district newspaper.
Long Covid patients in Germany: treatment offers are largely limited
A particular problem for Long Covid patients in Germany is the billing of treatments. Anyone who can prove that they are infected through work can bill for treatments via the employers' liability insurance association. Anyone who becomes infected privately must contact the health insurance company. "I was able to take advantage of all the offers, but patients with statutory health insurance only took advantage of group therapy – I think that's sad because the additional offers in particular helped me a lot," says another Long Covid patient. A controversial form of therapy in dealing with Long Covid is the so-called "blood washing".
The authors of the study would also like to see more services available to Long Covid patients worldwide. In the conclusion of the study, they emphasize the "need for targeted therapies and integrated multidisciplinary follow-up services for patients recovering from hospitalization with COVID-19." The knowledge gathered would provide the first important evidence for such a development. (nz)