Will we soon be able to detect long covid with a simple blood test? In any case, this is what British researchers of theImperial College London, who found that antibodies specific to long covid could be detected in the blood.
“Auto-antibodies” in the blood
As they explain at the BBC, these researchers compared the blood of dozens of people. In that of people who reported persistent symptoms of covid, they observed the presence of particular antibodies, autoantibodies. These are antibodies made by an organism and directed not against the virus, but against parts of the organism itself.
And these later autoantibodies were not present in the blood of people cured of covid, nor in those who had never caught covid. For researchers, autoantibodies could therefore be one of the causes of long covid, and serve as markers for a diagnostic test.
To read also: Long Covid: the asymptomatic also concerned?
A test ready in six to 18 months
Concretely, this test could be quite simple and work like the rapid serological tests, the TROD, with a drop of blood taken from the fingertip. The interest, for the researchers, would be to be able to carry out this test in the offices of general practitioners.
And if their observations are confirmed in a larger number of patients, such a blood test could emerge within six to 18 months. A major advance because currently, no test, rapid or not, can diagnose long covid.
Fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath …
And this complex condition, defined as the persistence of symptoms beyond four weeks after infection, is still largely unrecognized. Persistent symptoms most often include fatigue, shortness of breath, headache and / or muscle pain.
60% long covid among hospitalized patients
In France, scientists estimate that 50% of people infected with covid show at least one symptom after one month. And that 10% of these people are still affected after six months.
But among people who have declared a severe form of covid and who have been hospitalized, Inserm counts that 60% of them present a symptom that persists six months after infection.
Many studies are still needed to understand, diagnose and treat the different types of long-term covid.