January 1, 2021

COVID long-hauler study found 205 symptoms in 10 body organs


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KUTV) — A newly released study is shedding light on COVID-19 symptoms that last for months in some patients.

Experts say it’s another piece of the COVID puzzle that is starting to come together, with the end game of finding cures for long-lasting symptoms.

“You don’t know how it will affect you, you don’t know what version you’re going to end up with,” said Lisa O’Brien, who got COVID in March.

At the beginning, her symptoms were mild.

“I actually thought the virus had gone away in week five, six and seven,” O’Brien said.

But it didn’t, and the version of the virus O’Brien got forced her to the ER nine times, mostly for erratic heart issues and blood clots.

They would send me back home and tell me everything looked normal. I was far from normal, and a lot of times I felt like I was being sent home to die,” O’Brien said.

Lisa O’Brien documents hair loss as part of her Covid-19 long hauler symptoms

O’Brien, who started the Utah Long Hauler support group, still deals with cognitive issues, and it can take a week to regain her strength.

It’s symptoms like that that are a sampling of symptoms found in a new study of more than 3,700 long-haulers.

“What we want to do is pick out patterns, because if I can pick out patterns and start to look for specific symptoms then I can start looking for mechanism, and if I can find the mechanism then we have potential treatments,” said Dr. Jeanette Brown, an assistant professor at the University of Utah.

The study found 205 symptoms impacting 10 organs in the body.

O’Brien said what stands out in the study is the persistence of symptoms, “because it’s such a new virus; we don’t know how long that’s going to be for.”

For the 1,300 or so long-haulers in Utah like O’Brien, that can be frustrating.

Will we ever get better? Do we ever get our lives back that we used to live?” O’Brien asked.

While more than 3,700 people were surveyed, roughly one-third tested positive for COVID. Critics say that is too small a sample set to get good data.

Supporters say the information is valuable and can help in learning more about this new disease.

The U is raising money to continue funding research about long-haulers.


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