Dr. John Aucott, Director of The Lyme Disease Research Center, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, et al. published the article, “Long-haul COVID: heed the lessons from other infection-triggered illnesses” in The Lancet.
According to Aucott, explanations of the long-term effects of COVID-19 are beginning to appear in medical literature, the first significant cohort study with a 6-month follow-up has been published, with more data expected to emerge.
Similarities have been observed in persistent imaging and testing abnormalities across several organ systems in the post-acute period, as well as the frequent occurrence of patient-reported complaints including fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and depression, autonomic disturbances, cognitive difficulties, pain, and others.
The research team specifies, “Although the frequency, severity, and potentially the etiology of persistent symptoms can vary, sequelae after COVID-19 appears poised to join the range of other postinfectious syndromes described in the field of infectious diseases.”
It is the hope of the Hopkins team that researchers and clinicians will draw on other conditions such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and post-treatment Lyme disease, as they continue efforts to advance scientific understanding of “long-haul” or “persistent COVID-19.” The researchers emphasize that there are important lessons to learn, as well as pitfalls to avoid and point to the ways post-treatment Lyme disease has remained a highly controversial illness for over 30 years.