'Promising research' could help treat COVID-19 patients with long-term effects from virus

ByKristen Sze and Eric Shackelford KGO logo
Friday, October 30, 2020
Drug could help treat COVID-19 patients with long-term effects
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Patients don't just survive or die from COVID-19, some suffer long-term effects and damage to the lungs. 'Promising research' could help slow those effects.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The discussion about COVID-19 isn't just about surviving the virus. As we get deeper into this pandemic, we're learning more about patients known as "long-haulers." Those are people who don't bounce back after the initial recovery and suffer longer-term symptoms. Which can last weeks or months after a patient tests negative for COVID-19.

It's still too early to determine the number of people in this category but estimations range from 10-50% says Dr. Colin Chinn, a former Joint Staff Surgeon of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Rear Admiral.

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As for the symptoms, Dr. Chinn says patients feel extreme fatigue, severe shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. Of course, the term "long-term" is relative since we aren't even one year into knowing about this disease.

Long-haulers are typically those who had a very severe case, were hospitalized, on a ventilator, older age groups, or had multiple chronic diseases.

Now what? Dr. Chinn says there's promising research out of the New York University Grossman School of Medicine supported by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. They're studying a drug called BIO 300 that could prevent or reverse long-term effects. Dr. Chinn says the drug has been used on the lungs after radiation therapy.

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Right now, there's still so much to learn but Dr. Chinn sounds optimistic about treating long-haulers.

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