LOCAL NEWS

Blood test could reveal risk of having long term health effects of COVID-19

Jan 26, 2022, 6:04 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY— While long COVID-19 continues to cause medical problems for thousands of Utahns, new research suggested, a blood test could one day help determine a person’s risk for the perplexing condition.  

Today, there is no standard diagnosis or treatment for long COVID-19. There’s also no way to determine who is at risk for long COVID-19 before they catch the virus. But, if a blood test could determine that risk, researchers may also be able to develop treatments and that would be good news for patients with persistent post- COVID-19 symptoms. 

“Most days now I feel 90 to 95% better,” said Lisa O’Brien, one of Utah’s first long haulers.  

She has been experiencing a strange set of symptoms since March 2020. Some of them have been COVID-19 like symptoms, while other symptoms are unique.  

“Once or twice a week, I’ll wake up and feel like this really weird surge or internal vibration in my chest area,” she said. “My lips will tingle or vibrate when I eat certain foods.”  

She occasionally still feels fatigued and some days does not feel like getting out of bed for part of the day. She is slowly starting to get back into hiking, and other exercises that she enjoyed before she got sick. 

O’Brien is no longer losing clumps of hair or experiencing drastic fluctuations in her heart rate. 

Lisa O’Brien is slowly starting to get back into hiking, and other exercise that she enjoyed before she got sick.(Used by permission, Lisa O’Brien) Lisa O’Brien is slowly starting to get back into hiking, and other exercise that she enjoyed before she got sick.(Used by permission, Lisa O’Brien) O’Brien is no longer losing clumps of hair or experiencing drastic fluctuations in her heart rate. (Used by permission, Lisa O’Brien) Lisa O’Brien is slowly starting to get back into hiking, and other exercise that she enjoyed before she got sick.(Used by permission, Lisa O’Brien) Lisa O’Brien is slowly starting to get back into hiking, and other exercise that she enjoyed before she got sick.(Used by permission, Lisa O’Brien) Lisa O’Brien is slowly starting to get back into hiking, and other exercise that she enjoyed before she got sick.(Used by permission, Lisa O’Brien)

“However, I am one of the lucky ones because I have a lot of friends who are two years into this now and they have not improved as much as I have.”  

She met those friends on the Utah Long-haulers Facebook group which she started in June 2020.  

That group now numbers 4,000 members and adds five to 10 new members each day, O’Brien said.  

“I’ve got some friends that have been out of work for two years and it’s changed their lives because the symptoms are so debilitating,” she said.  

New research finds that people who develop long COVID-19 have lower levels of certain antibodies in their blood shortly after being infected.  

Dr. Jeanette Brown works with long haulers as director of the Comprehensive COVID-19 Clinic at University of Utah Health.  

“This was a pretty well-done study,” Brown said. “They looked at 175 patients with Covid and followed them over a year.”  

Researchers watched the patients’ symptoms, developed a scoring system, and tried to predict from their immune responses who would develop post-COVID-19 symptoms. 

 “They felt like it was about 75% effective at predicting who is going to have persistent symptoms,” Brown said.  

If they can validate these findings with more patients, that could help researchers develop new treatments targeting symptoms of the long haulers. 

 “You can target potential therapies earlier, or identify those patients for research long term,” Brown said. “I think that’s how this could potentially help if it was validated.”  

And, potentially enable scientists to develop a blood test to predict who may get long COVID-19.  

That would be good news for O’Brien and the other long haulers who have joined her group. 

“If they can uncover the ‘why’, why are some people ending up like this? Then, that can lead us to the ‘how’, how do we treat this?” O’Brien said. 

Dr. Brown says it’s estimated that about 30% of those with COVID-19 may experience persistent symptoms. Early signs of which patients might be at highest risk would enable doctors to better understand what causes the condition. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Cache County deputies say a 51-year-old man died while snowmobiling in Scare Canyon. (Brian Champag...

Josh Ellis

Weber County man dies after experiencing health issue while snowmobiling

A 51-year-old man died while riding a snowmobile in Cache County Thursday afternoon.

25 minutes ago

Matt Gephardt being shown the double payments that Terry Hutchings has been getting....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps homeowner being charged two bills for one security system

Billing for a previous home initially stopped when she sold it, but when she got a new security system from the same provider for her new place a year later it started billing for both

8 hours ago

The Utah State Hospital sign in Provo, Utah....

Daniel Woodruff

A developer has big plans for the Utah State Hospital property

The latest effort to move the Utah State Hospital for a new development plan has failed this legislative session.

8 hours ago

Utah County residents vote in-person during the 2020 General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. (KSL-TV)...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah Senate rejects effort to end ranked choice voting early

Utah’s experiment with ranked choice voting will continue after a bill that would have ended the pilot program two years early failed to pass.

9 hours ago

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced February 29 that Heritage Store Hydrogen Peroxide ...

John Towfighi, CNN

Mouthwash recalled nationwide over poisoning risk

One brand of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is being recalled nationwide for posing a potential poisoning risk for children.

11 hours ago

Comiske riding her stationary bike, something she does every morning....

Emma Benson

Strategies to lengthen your life

The CDC says, on average, women tend to live 5-7 years longer than men because men higher rate of cardiovascular disease, but there are simple, healthy ways to increase your life expectancy.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Blood test could reveal risk of having long term health effects of COVID-19