Long COVID rising in Australia: What part can Long COVID CARE take in providing holistic support?
As of June 2022 it is estimated more than 8 million Australians have contracted COVID-19. The level of severity of this initial viral infection does not often correlate with who will experience ongoing symptoms that could be classified as Long COVID.
The World Health Organisation has defined Long COVID saying, "Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction but also others and generally have an impact on everyday functioning. Symptoms may be new onset following initial recovery from an acute COVID-19 episode or persist from the initial illness. Symptoms may also fluctuate or relapse over time." (1)
A huge and growing array of symptoms have been reported as part of the Long COVID sequel with some reports suggesting up to 260 recognised symptoms. Lopez-Leon (2) reported more than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19 in their 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis. "The meta-analysis of the studies included an estimate for one symptom or more reported that 80% of the patients with COVID-19 have long-term symptoms." However at Long COVID CARE we believe from our extensive research that the percentage of individuals suffering significant longterm after effects is more likely 10 to 40%.
Even if we look at the rate being an unlikely 5% that still means there is potentially 400,000 or more Australian's who are already suffering from Long COVID. Long COVID CARE head Clinician Carla Wrenn noticed the rapid rise of patients presenting with Long COVID in her Naturopathic Clinic. Carla began a deep dive into the research evident ways she could use her skillset to support this growing patient group through a purpose built virtual clinic.
Carla noted these patients often had no prior health concerns being fit and healthy, "some were even representing their state in sporting pursuits at the point they contracted COVID-19." Others experienced an exacerbation of their current health concerns along with new symptoms. Carla goes on to say, "Many patients could no longer maintain their lifestyle, attention work, clean their house or even walk to their mailbox and it was for them I did a huge literature review."
An April 2022 BMC Public Health publication Modelling the potential acute and post-acute burden of COVID-19 under the Australian border re-opening plan (3) states"The impact of Long COVID and potential long-term post-COVID disabilities could contribute substantially to the COVID-19 burden in Australia...Our estimates highlight the importance of valuing the morbidity of post-COVID-19 sequelae, above and beyond simple mortality and case statistics."
The positives of this huge literature review found extensive (and growing) evidence for the ways in which clinicians like Carla and her team can utilise the understanding of the aetiology and drivers (4) of Long COVID and the trialed nutritional, botanical and lifestyle medicines to change the health outcomes including severity and length of Long COVID sufferers symptoms. Carla highlights "While we caution patients on self prescribing therapies, especially those who have comorbidities or are taking pharmaceutical medications, without seeking the advice of a qualified clinician, it was heartening to see the research endorsing our botanical medicines (5,6,7), nutritional (6,8,9) and dietary interventions (9,10,11,12) in improving the outcomes of patients with Long COVID."
Iacobucci seems correct in his interview with Terence Stephenson, Nuffield professor of child health at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in London published February 2022, 'Long covid: ‘Holistic’ approach is best, given range of symptoms, say researchers.'(13) “It may be that for some [people with long COVID] you need to be referred on to someone very specialist, but . . . it’s not going to be one magic bullet, one drug, or one therapy that’s going to help. People are probably going to need a spectrum of inputs to help them.” Here at Long COVID CARE we are here to be part of your holistic team and utilise all the research on the aetiology and therapies as they comes to light, we are proud to offer some personalised solutions for the ever growing number of sufferers today.
This article is intended to be informational only. It is not intended to be used as medical advice and does not take the place of advice from a qualified health care practitioner in a clinical setting. Please check with your healthcare practitioner before embarking upon any of the treatments discussed.
(1) APTA. (2021). News | Long COVID: Comparing the WHO Definition With CDC’s. [online] Available at: https://www.apta.org/news/2021/10/19/who-vs-cdc-long-covid-definitions.
(2) Lopez-Leon, S., Wegman-Ostrosky, T., Perelman, C., Sepulveda, R., Rebolledo, P.A., Cuapio, A. and Villapol, S. (2021). More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, [online] 11(1), p.16144. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-95565-8.
(3) Angeles, M.R., Wanni Arachchige Dona, S., Nguyen, H. et al. Modelling the potential acute and post-acute burden of COVID-19 under the Australian border re-opening plan.BMC Public Health22, 757 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13169-x
(4) Proal, A.D. and VanElzakker, M.B. (2021). Long COVID or Post-acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC): An Overview of Biological Factors That May Contribute to Persistent Symptoms. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2021.698169.
(5) Satoh, T., Trudler, D., Oh, C.-K. and Lipton, S.A. (2022). Potential Therapeutic Use of the Rosemary Diterpene Carnosic Acid for Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Long-COVID through NRF2 Activation to Counteract the NLRP3 Inflammasome. Antioxidants, [online] 11(1), p.124. doi:10.3390/antiox11010124.
(6) Panossian, A. and Brendler, T. (2020). The Role of Adaptogens in Prophylaxis and Treatment of Viral Respiratory Infections. Pharmaceuticals, 13(9), p.236. doi:10.3390/ph13090236.
(7) Karosanidze, I., Kiladze, U., Kirtadze, N., Giorgadze, M., Amashukeli, N., Parulava, N., Iluridze, N., Kikabidze, N., Gudavadze, N., Gelashvili, L., Koberidze, V., Gigashvili, E., Jajanidze, N., Latsabidze, N., Mamageishvili, N.,Shengelia, R., Hovhannisyan, A. and Panossian, A. (2022). Efficacy of Adaptogens in Patients with Long COVID-19: A Randomized, Quadruple-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pharmaceuticals, 15(3), p.345. doi:10.3390/ph15030345.
(8) Liu, Q., Mak, J.W.Y., Su, Q., Yeoh, Y.K., Lui, G.C.-Y., Ng, S.S.S., Zhang, F., Li, A.Y.L., Lu, W., Hui, D.S.-C., Chan, P.K., Chan, F.K.L. and Ng, S.C. (2022). Gut microbiota dynamics in a prospective cohort of patients with post-acute COVID-19 syndrome. Gut. [online] doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2021-325989.
(9) Barrea, L., Verde, L., Grant, W.B., Frias-Toral, E., Sarno, G., Vetrani, C., Ceriani, F., Garcia-Velasquez, E., Contreras-Briceño, J., Savastano, S., Colao, A. and Muscogiuri, G. (2022). Vitamin D: A Role Also in Long COVID-19? Nutrients, 14(8), p.1625. doi:10.3390/nu14081625.
(10) Naureen Z, Dautaj A, Nodari S, Fioretti F, Dhuli K, Anpilogov K, Lorusso L, Paolacci S, Michelini S, Guda T, Kallazi M, Bertelli M. (2021). Proposal of a food supplement for the management of post-COVID syndrome. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci.. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202112_27335. PMID: 34890036.
(11) Thomas, R., Williams, M., Aldous, J., Yanagisawa, Y., Kumar, R., Forsyth, R. and Chater, A. (2022). A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial Evaluating Concentrated Phytochemical-Rich Nutritional Capsule in Addition to a Probiotic Capsule on Clinical Outcomes among Individuals with COVID-19—The UK Phyto-V Study. COVID, 2(4), pp.433–449. doi:10.3390/covid2040031.
(12) Afroz, S., Fairuz, S., Joty, J.A., Uddin, Md.N. and Rahman, M.A. (2021). Virtual screening of functional foods and dissecting their roles in modulating gene functions to support post COVID‐19 complications. Journal of Food Biochemistry. doi:10.1111/jfbc.13961.
(13) Iacobucci, G. (2022). Long covid: ‘Holistic’ approach is best, given range of symptoms, say researchers. BMJ, p.o336. doi:10.1136/bmj.o336.