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Researchers narrow long COVID into 3 subtypes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new study by scientists at King’s College London shows people who experience long COVID fall into three different subtypes.

These are patients who’ve been infected, cleared the virus, yet still have symptoms three months or longer.

The three subtypes are patients with neurological symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog and headache; patients with prolonged respiratory symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath; and patients with a range of symptoms from heart palpitations and muscle aches to changes in skin and hair. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 5 people who’ve had the coronavirus will suffer from long-COVID.

“I think it’s just another way to make sure that physicians, health care workers, friends, and family are listening to their bodies and listening to others when they are saying they have these symptoms because they are real,” Dr. Geeta Mantravadi, an infectious disease specialist at IU Health, told News 8. “And I think a lot of people who are living with this are getting ignored.”

“These data show clearly that post COVID syndrome is not just one condition, but appears to have several subtypes,” said study investigator, Dr. Claire Stevens, in a news release. “Understanding the root causes of these subtypes may help in finding treatment strategies. Moreover, these data emphasize the need for Long-COVID services to incorporate a personalized approach sensitive to the issues of each individual.”

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.