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Mayo Clinic Researchers Confirm that Vaccine May Reduce Severity of Long-haul COVID Symptoms
Mayo Clinic research has found that getting a COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the severity of a number of post-COVID conditions.
Symptoms of “long-haul” COVID can include fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, chest pain, and abdominal pain. Among populations infected with COVID-19, an estimated 20 percent younger than 65 and 25 percent over 65 will go on to develop long-haul COVID-19 conditions.
Mayo Clinic’s study of 477 patients found that vaccinated people were half as likely to experience abdominal pain as compared to unvaccinated patients. Vaccinated patients were also less likely to report other symptoms including loss of smell, chest pain, dizziness, numbness, shortness of breath, tremors, and weakness. The study revealed that there was no significant difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients in regards to fatigue, muscle pain and tachycardia, or irregular heartbeat.
The research was published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine in July.
“These results were quite surprising to us” said Greg Vanichkachorn, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic's COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program and the study's lead author. “This study shows that vaccines can be really important for long-haul COVID and can help reduce the severity of the condition. What we found to be the most significant with improvement with the vaccination in long-haul COVID is that those folks who were vaccinated seemed to have almost two times reduction in the amount of abdominal pain they experienced compared to individuals who were not vaccinated.”
More research needs to be done to determine what is happening at a cellular level that cause symptoms so that treatments can be developed, Vanichkachorn noted.
Access the news via Mayo Clinic News Network.
NIH-Funded Research Links Variant in Gene to Asymptomatic Symptoms during COVID-19
New National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research reveals a correlation between a variant in an immune response gene and being asymptomatic—having no symptoms—while infected with COVID-19.
Researchers examined more than 29,000 people who had volunteered to donate bone marrow that had already been sequenced for HLA variants.
The researchers found that 20 percent of people who were symptomatic had an HLA variant called HLA-B*15:01. People who had two copies this variant gene passed down from both parents were eight times more likely to remain asymptomatic than people who did not carry that variant.
Previous research has shown that HLA is associated with controlling viral infections including HIV, hepatitis, and other types of coronaviruses.
“Since preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection is very difficult, the researchers suggested that designing a vaccine that utilizes the HLA-B*15:01 variant could help someone quickly fight the infection without experiencing symptoms,” according to NIH. “This type of vaccine would provide important public health benefits and reduce the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
NIH reports that given that study participants consisted of mostly white females, further studies are needed to understand asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in diverse groups.
CDC Publishes Guidance for New Variant BA.2.86
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published information on SARS-CoV-2 variant, labeled BA.2.86.
As of August 23, 2023, the CDC reports that nine BA.2.86 variant sequences have been reported globally. Noting that more information is needed about the variant, the agency reports that it spreads in the same way as other variants and offers guidance to protect yourself and others from infection:
The CDC also reported that licensed/authorized FDA updated vaccines will be available as early as mid-September at local pharmacies and doctors’ offices. Access more updates on CDC’s website.
See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting the Standardization Community’s Response.