Univ. of Iowa Healthcare shares findings on long term side effects of COVID-19

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Physicians with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are sharing their findings after monitoring long-term COVID-19 side effects.

Their post-COVID-19 clinic has served nearly 500 patients in the past year.

Dr. Alejandro Comellas is the Clinical Professor for the Department of Internal Medicine. As part of his position, he’s helped and studied people’s long-term side effects after testing positive for COVID-19. He said the purpose of the clinic is to determine whether the patients require a specific treatment that we can assess, or whether they need referrals to see a specialist. They also share their findings with other medical institutions in the country.

“We try to really help the scientific community in understanding more what is post-covid or ‘long covid’ for future trials and future therapies,” Comellas said.

Since they started in the summer of 2020, Comellas said there are a few major themes. One being small airway disease which affects the lungs and airways.

“The other thing we have also seen is some of the neurocognitive impairment with some brain fog and memory problems,” Comellas said.

Since these long-term effects have been studied over the course of a year, Comellas said that most of them tested positive before getting vaccinated. The next step in these studies will be based on effects among those who tested positive and are vaccinated versus those who are not.

“Are we seeing patients post-covid despite getting vaccinated?” Comellas said. “And that is premature, we do not know whether these symptoms will occur in the vaccinated, at this point we are only witnessing this in the unvaccinated.”

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