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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Vaccines May Relieve COVID 19 Symptoms, Patients Say; Researchers Are Probing The Claim

According to COVID 19 long haulers, vaccination may relieve symptoms.

One among the patients describes her experiences as follows:

She came down with an acute coronavirus infection in March 2020. Its symptoms haunted her for long. Shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, diarrhea, skin rashes and pathological exhaustion are some among them to mention. This affected her life as a writer and humanities professor in Massachusetts. She found it difficult even to remember basic words. As a result, she lost two jobs. She almost lost her identity as an endurance swimmer. Combined with her mother’s transition into dementia care, her life began to crumble.

Vaccines May Relieve COVID 19 Symptoms, Patients Say; Researchers Are Probing The Claim

At that juncture, she received the vaccination. She began to notice the improvement in her symptoms within two weeks of the first dose. The rashes on her skin disappeared. Her cognitive performance got better. After the second dose, the improvement in her health continued.

Vaccines May Relieve COVID 19 Symptoms, Patients Say; Researchers Are Probing The Claim

Experiences like that of her are now being noticed on social media. This offers an attractive perspective where specialized clinics struggle to find a treatment for the same. Vaccines may bring relief to those suffering from long-term health issues due to COVID 19. They may even eliminated coronavirus-induced disability to a great extent. Still, experts offer differing opinions in the matter. They are uncertain even with regard to how long the improvement will last.

Scientific studies still remain scarce in this regard. One such study is available as pre-print since it has not undergone peer review. The study compares two scenarios:

  • How the patients hospitalized due to COVID 19 fared after receiving the vaccination
  • Those who were hospitalized earlier but haven’t received the vaccination

23% of the vaccinated group reported relief to their symptoms. Among the unvaccinated, the number was 15%. The study was conducted in a small group; of 44 patients. These numbers are statistically very important. Still, the percentage of the improvement was quite small. According to experts, the data is anecdotal. Majority of people recover on their own after getting sick due to the coronavirus infection. And it is quite difficult to determine if the recovery happened due to the vaccination or without it. A decision in the matter requires randomized trials. Even then, anecdotes can stack together. And it will do well for doctors treating long-term symptoms of the infection. In fact, that is what is happening lately. People report that they are experiencing relief from symptoms to a great extent, if not complete after receiving vaccination. The situation remains the same for all the three vaccines authorized for use in the country.

One among the many theories that explains the situation of long haulers of COVID 19 may be explained in the scenario:

There are many people who were unable to clear from the virus. In this juncture, they receive vaccination.  And now they are reporting good immunogenic response to the virus. That may be all that is required to recover from COVID 19.

This comes in line with what another section of experts believe. The virus may be hiding like a reservoir in the body. It may be causing the lasting low-level inflammation for long haulers. There also appears to be another scenario:

The long-term symptoms of COVID 19 damage the immune system. The body finds it unable to repair it even after the virus leaves the system. Here is where the Pfizer and Moderna play a significant role. They use MRNA technology. This teaches the immune system how to fight off the protein that the virus spikes. This helps the immune system repair itself and get back to normal.

Anecdotes suggest that all the three vaccines help recover long haulers of COVID 19. This way, they don’t just fix a damaged immune system, but restore it almost completely.

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