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Some long-term COVID-19 patients feel much better after receiving the vaccine

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Jud Udi Dod began battling COVID-19 long-term symptoms last spring. Breathing, headaches, exhaustion. Then he got the vaccine.

After his first shot at Pfizer-BioNTech in late January, he felt so physically miserable that he had to persuade him to get a second. For three days after that, he also felt terrible. But on the fourth day everything changed.

“I woke up, oh what a beautiful morning,” said Dodd, a high school teacher who is also an actor-director. “It looks like I’m been shooting ‘Sweeney Todd’ for months, and now I’re shooting ‘Oklahoma.’

Dodd, who continues to feel well, is among those who report that the post-COVID-19 symptoms they have been experiencing for months have begun to improve, sometimes significantly after receiving the vaccine. This is a phenomenon that doctors and scientists are closely monitoring, but as with coronavirus disease throughout the year, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Scientists are just beginning to study any possible effect of vaccines on the long-term symptoms of COVID-19. Jokes are spread. Aside from those who report feeling better after the shoot, many say they have not changed, and a small number say they feel worse.

Doctors’ reports are also different. Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease physician at Columbia University, said that about 40% of COVID-19 long-term patients he treated improved their citation symptoms after the vaccine.

“They notice, ‘Hey, oh, I’ve been feeling better for days. Fatigue is not so bad. “Maybe the smell will return,” said Griffin.

Other doctors say it is too early to know.

“So far, few of our participants have been vaccinated to really get an idea of ​​this issue,” said Michael Peluso, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been researching COVID-19. , San Francisco. “I have heard jokes, but so far I have seen very little information.”

A small study by British researchers this month, which has not yet been studied, found that people who had been vaccinated with COVID-19 in the hospital had improved symptoms of COVID-19 earlier than those who had not yet been vaccinated. The 44 patients who were vaccinated during the study were older and had deeper medical conditions because people with these characteristics had been vaccinated earlier.

One month after vaccination, these patients reported a 23% improvement in their long-term COVID-19 symptoms, such as arthritis and shortness of breath, while 5.6% of their symptoms worsened. At that time, 22 unvaccinated people surveyed said that 15% of their symptoms were better, while 14% of the symptoms were worse. There was no difference in response between people receiving Pfizer-BioNTech և Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

More information comes from two studies of several hundred people with long-term symptoms of COVID-19, many of whom have never been hospitalized.

A study of 345 people, mostly women և mostly in the United Kingdom, found that two weeks or more after the first dose of the vaccine, 93 felt a little better and 18 were normal. A total of 32% report improved prolonged COVID-19 symptoms. ,

In that study, by London-based filmmaker Gez Medinger, who experienced post-COVID-19 symptoms, 61 people, less than 18%, felt worse, most of them reporting only a slight decline in their condition. : Almost half, 172 people, said they were no different.

Another study by Survivor Corps of more than 150,000 COVID-19 survivors found that 225 of 577 respondents on Wednesday said there had been some improvement, while 270 had seen no change and 82 they felt worse.

Jim im Golen, 55, of Saginaw, Minnesota, feels that his long-standing symptoms of COVID-19 have worsened since he was vaccinated. Golen, a former nurse who also owns a small farm, has had problems for months, including a pulmonary thrombus, chest pain, dizziness, insomnia, and shortness of breath on any breath. “At the end of last year, after seeing several doctors, ‘I was finally starting to get better,'” he said.

After receiving a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in mid-January, he said his chest burning and shortness of breath had returned, especially if he had to do things like collecting maple sap from his farm. Nevertheless, Golen said he was “very happy” to be vaccinated, stressing that the effects of COVID-19 were worse and that prevention was possible.

Some people told stories about the dramatic improvement in symptoms that surprised them.

Laura Gross, 72, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, has been released from a long list of COVID-19 symptoms she has had since April, including exhaustion, arthritis, muscle aches, and dizziness. headache, tremors all over the body. “

“His cognitive confusion and forgetfulness were so intense that he could hardly describe the fog,” he said. “It’s more like a cyclone in the brain.”

He felt incomparably “hopeless, sad, lonely, unmotivated.”

Three days after the first shoot of Moderna in late January, everything changed.

“It was like a revelation,” he said.

The fog of the brain was completely cleared, the muscle aches were gone, the joint pains were less severe, և he suddenly had a lot more energy. He felt that he was “as old as I am.”

This continued after the second dose.

“It looks like my cells became impoverished last year when they met COVID-19,” Gross said. “The vaccine said, ‘Wait, dope, you don’t fight it that way.’ do it this way. “

He recently walked fast for 23 minutes, even “running a little because I was very happy,” he said. “I’m very happy, little happy.”

Scientists say that understanding whether vaccines help long-term COVID-19 patients or not can help identify the underlying causes of the various symptoms and possible treatments.

“They can be different disease processes, you control them differently,” said Dr. Adam Loring, a virologist and infectious disease doctor at the University of Michigan. “There may be a subset of people who have some type of long COVID-19 that responds well to vaccines, but there may be other people who have another subtype that we have not yet clearly defined.”

Yale immunologist Akiko Iwasaki says the vaccine, by building antibodies to the coronavirus stem cell protein, can kill virus debris or viral RNA debris that may remain in some patients.

If that happens, he said, it could mean the vaccine “could be like a permanent treatment” for those patients.

Ivasaki said the vaccine could also help people who have long-term COVID-19 symptoms from an autoimmune disease-like post-viral response if “the vaccine stimulates innate immune responses that disrupt these types of autoimmune responses,” he said. But based on the experience of people with other autoimmune diseases, that help “would not take long, they would kind of come back” with symptoms similar to fatigue, he said.

Dr Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, said he was starting a study to measure physiological information such as heart rate, respiration rate, temperature and immune response markers in people with long COVID-19. weeks before receiving the vaccine.

“It’s likely that ‘your immune system is recovering when you’re fighting in a pool’s remnants of a virus or RNA,'” he said. “: That could be the reason why you’re overwhelmed by your heartbeat.” He wants to see if these biological indicators improve the vaccine.

“We would really like objective criteria that show that you not only feel better,” Topol said. “You can feel better about the placebo effect, but it is unlikely that your heart rate will go from 100 to 60 because of the placebo effect. And if we see that pattern all the time, it will be Eureka. ”

He added. “I think there is something wrong with that, but I just do not know how big it is, how many people will benefit.”

There are many other questions. Are there specific characteristics, such as age, sex, type of symptoms, or duration, that may make KOVID-19 long-term patients feel better? Will the vaccine be more effective for people with more complicated conditions? People whose symptoms are due to multiple biological pathways (perhaps RNA residue, autoimmune activation), or have the symptoms changed or fluctuated over time? Do certain types of vaccines work best?

Bridget Hayward, 51, a nurse in the operating room of Alexandria, Virginia, said that after signing a contract with COVID-19 a year ago, her body shook from her hands to her thighs. “Give me the sharp thing with which we cut.”

Almost every day, he would spend a short time in life bending over to tighten a patient’s intravenous line or plug in a hospital bed cord.

“It was terrible,” he said. “It was horrible to think it could never be better, say, ‘Is this my new normal?’ Am I so injured now? ”

After a few months, his worst symptoms improved, but he was still easily tired, feeling hot even in cold weather, and thought it was too taxing to do some normal tasks.

In late December, a day after the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, “it looks like it’s all right,” he said. His body temperature had returned to normal, “it seemed like darkness was rising.”

Although “not every day is 100%”, he said that now he has so much energy that I just do not get from A to B. I’m like jumping. “

Recently one day he took on some long overdue responsibilities.

“This may seem like a lot, but it was a turnaround three months ago,” he said. “I’m back!”

Kim Leighton, 64, from Vancouver, Washington, had a similar experience. He was hospitalized in March 2020. He had long-term symptoms of COVID-19, which included minibuses, shortness of breath, loss in his area, depression, and fatigue.

“It really was hell,” he said.

When he began to feel better in late January, he did not even think of adding it to the vaccine, but later realized that his dramatic improvement began four days after receiving Moderna’s first filming. She is happy to be able to walk in downtown Portland, Oregon, and wants to connect with friends.

“I feel stronger every day,” Leighton said. “All the things I had to leave, I try to get them back.”

Dodd, like some others, said he did not take his improvement for granted.

“I am still kind of afraid of what is in the corner. “This disease is so unpredictable,” he said.

But, he added, “even if, God forbid, I have a relapse, having it this time when I feel good is really amazing.”

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