Shalonda Williams-Hampton, 32, has her blood taken by Northwell Health medical workers for the antibody tests that detect whether a person has actually developed immunity to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) at the First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury in Westbury, New York, May 13, 2020. Shannon Stapleton
“Potential causes of long Covid being considered by researchers include organ damage caused by Covid infection, problems with the immune system following an infection or a reactivation of the virus; or perhaps a mix of factors.One British research study, published last October, recognized the main elements that make it more likely that patients will suffer long term from the coronavirus, with ones age, weight and gender among them. Further research is prompting hopes that there might quickly be a test to identify the frequently life-altering but little-understood condition.Tests for long Covid?Imperial Colleges Altmann is part of a group examining long Covid, examining blood samples of those who have it in an effort to find the cause.Previewing their early findings on the BBCs Panorama program Monday night, the team said they had discovered that irregular antibodies were common in blood samples of people suffering with long Covid.Normally, the immune system mounts a protective response by producing antibodies to combat an infection, but in some cases this goes wrong and “autoantibodies”– often described as “rogue antibodies”– are produced that attack healthy cells.Researchers led by Altmann discovered that such autoantibodies were common in people with long Covid, although just a little number of blood samples were analyzed in the pilot research study. Autoantibodies were not found in relative blood samples of people who had actually recovered rapidly from the virus or had never tested positive for Covid-19, however.Still, the finding of such irregular antibodies in those with long Covid might lead the way for a basic diagnostic test in which a persons blood is evaluated.