Long covid test: Researchers ‘may’ be closer to finding test – patients show cortisol drop
American researchers at a leading university and research centre have found that levels of a chemical are way lower in people with long Covid versus those that don’t have the disease. Knowing specific chemicals linked to the disease, which experts call “biomarkers”, raises the possibility of doctors easily diagnosing long Covid.
In the study, the experts at Yale School of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai spotted that people with long Covid had half the amount of cortisol in their body, compared to healthy individuals.
Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in the body as part of its stress response. It’s often described negatively but normal levels help repair body tissue.
Low levels of Cortisol can bring about fatigue, muscle weakness, and low blood pressure.
The researchers looked at 215 people, including 99 with long Covid. As well as finding low cortisol levels, they found that people also had an increased immune response to non-Covid viruses in the body, such as the Epstein-Barr virus.
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Currently, there is no single test for long Covid, and the lateral flow and PCR tests used for Covid-19 may not work as long Covid can persist months or even years after the virus has left the body.
Being diagnosed with long Covid can help people to recover more easily as it ensures they receive proper treatment.
The chronic condition can cause some serious complications if it isn’t handled appropriately.
For example, if somebody with long Covid over-exercises, this can prolong recovery and cause an unnecessary risk of a deadly heart condition called myocarditis.
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