GUILFORD, Conn., Nov. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Autoimmune Registry has determined that biomarkers of immune system activity similar to those seen in many autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases justify the inclusion of Long COVID on its list of diseases.
As many as 50% of people who contract COVID-19 develop the syndrome known as "Long COVID", which appears to affect a person for months, possibly years.
"There are several immune system responses seen in people after they have COVID-19. The widely reported 'cytokine storm' is an innate immune system inflammatory response that raises the risk of death. Adaptive autoimmune responses have not been found in COVID-19 patients, but it took years before diseases like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes were recognized as adaptive autoimmune diseases. The Autoimmune Registry believes that more research on the immune system and Long COVID is needed."
Due to the need for more research, Long COVID is classified on the list of autoimmune diseases as "Unconfirmed".
The symptoms of Long COVID are familiar to people suffering from autoimmune diseases, including:
An unpredictable flare-remission pattern of symptoms
"Brain fog", an interruption of memory, attention, and thought processing that can inhibit or prevent a person from performing normal activities
Long COVID appears to overlap with some autoimmune diseases. Myocarditis, reported among patients with COVID-19 and, in rare cases, among those who have been vaccinated, is also an autoimmune disease. Blood clots similar to those found in the autoimmune disease antiphospholipid syndrome have been reported in patients with COVID-19 and Long COVID.
High levels of antibodies to the immune-system proteins called type I interferons (IFNs) have been associated with severe COVID-19. Other studies have shown that severely ill patients tend to have a high concentration of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-6, compared to those who are moderately ill.
Long COVID would join other suspected associations between viral infection and autoimmune diseases. The Epstein-Barr virus is a suspected cause in Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS) and chronic diseases like lupus. Infection by Coxsackie virus is a suspected cause of myocarditis.
The Autoimmune Registry has decided to include Long COVID in its list of autoimmune diseases to support research into this emerging chronic condition.
If you have Long COVID, enroll in the Autoimmune Registry today to participate in clinical research. A fully annotated version of this announcement can be found on the Autoimmune Registry website, www.autoimmuneregistry.org.