A research team at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has identified a potential cause of long-lasting symptoms experienced by COVID-19 patients, often referred to as ‘long-haulers’.
At the heart of the team’s findings is an antibody that shows up weeks after an initial infection and attacks and disrupts a key regulator of the immune system, said lead researcher John Arthur, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Nephrology in the UAMS College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine.
As many as 30% of COVID-19 patients experience lingering fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath. The cause of long COVID-19 has eluded scientists, but the UAMS team’s discovery sheds important new light on the molecular-level mechanisms behind it.
“Everything that we’ve found is consistent with this antibody as the instigator of long COVID, so it’s an exciting development,” Dr. Arthur said.