Victoria Moreno, a nursing assistant at the Gregorio Marañón hospital, has seen how her persistent covid symptoms subsided after being vaccinated.INMA FLORES
Victoria Moreno is a nursing assistant. He has been in the ICU of the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid for almost 16 years. On March 4, 2020, he treated his first case of coronavirus and the next day he began to have a fever. So, he says, "I must have treated other infected before without knowing it." After a month and a half in isolation, she returned to work, but felt strange, she suffered from drowning, she lost her voice, she did not know the names of her colleagues … She tested positive again in May and was isolated again. He was confident that when the summer and the holidays came, those symptoms would disappear, but in September he had to unsubscribe again. It is one of the many affected by what they call persistent covid , as if the coronavirus is still inside doing its thing. On January 26, he was vaccinated almost reluctantly and began to improve, he no longer remained hoarse and the mental fog has subsided. On March 2, after the second dose and almost a year off, he returned to his post. It is not the only case in which the vaccine, in addition to preventing the coronavirus infection, cures the long-term covid.
"I still have strange, ugly thoughts, but most of the sensations are subsiding," says Moreno. Among those sensations are diffuse muscle aches and mobility problems in her hands that forced her to go to a physiotherapist. Also memory loss and mental confusion. "I am preparing for the nursing exams, but my own notes were illegible, words are missing, there are syntax errors." Inside, "sometimes I feel that they prick me with pins and other internal burning," he says. "And as soon as I woke up without a voice as I had helium", in reference to the so-called laughing gas that affects the vocal cords. “After the vaccine, all the symptoms are disappearing. I can think, before I was just rambling. I even felt joy and had not known what it was for a year, ”he says.
“After the vaccine I can think, before I just rambled. I have even felt joy and had not known what it was for a year ”Victoria Moreno, nursing assistant with persistent and vaccinated covid
The internist Francisco Tejerina began treating Moreno when he returned from vacation, with all the symptoms at their peak. He also works at the Gregorio Marañón. As a doctor, he has cared for many of his colleagues affected by SARS-CoV-2 since the start of the pandemic. As a researcher, he is an adjunct to the clinical microbiology and infectious diseases service. He was researching in the field of HIV, but as he says, "the coronavirus recycled us all." He was the one who told Moreno that, in her words, "I have no treatment for you, except the vaccine."
The idea that a vaccine, in addition to protecting against a virus, cures the disease or at least makes its symptoms remit is not new, but it is unusual. But there are many unusual things in this coronavirus. Like Moreno, there are thousands of infected who, once officially cured, remain sick. They may be negative in the PCR test or positive in antibodies. Pictures taken of their lungs do not indicate anything unusual, although many have breathing problems. Or, as in the case of Moreno, in analytics everything goes well despite almost everything going wrong. There are not many reliable studies, with the emergencies of the pandemic not being done, but it is estimated that between 10% and 20% of those who have passed the covid, continue with the long version of the disease. colleagues who have been absent for almost a year. "It's like everyone is suddenly 80 years old," he recalls. The persistence of the most varied symptoms was and is a mystery. Almost by default they were testing. What had breathing problems? "Well, a picture of his lungs, and we didn't see anything." It could be due to some immune abnormality. "Well, analysis of his immune system and we did not detect anything special," he details. They also looked for the virus beyond the lungs in hospitalized patients and neither. "Only in the serious, but already recovered, we saw a small percentage of the virus in their blood and feces," he adds.
“It's as if suddenly, everyone was 80 years old” Francisco Tejerina, the doctor who recommended Victoria Moreno to get vaccinated
It is as if the virus used as a reservoir places that neither expected nor found. Moreno, the patient, tells it like this: "I felt that I was not clean from the virus yet." Tejerina, her doctor, believes that "the virus becomes chronic and, like hepatitis C, you have it for much longer." As a researcher, Tejerina brings to the present several studies that were done with another coronavirus, the SARS that caused the epidemic of 2003. At that time it only affected a few countries, especially China, with Hong Kong, and Canada, with an outbreak in Toronto . Studies done years later, even a decade later, showed that recovered patients continued to complain of muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances or depression. “We investigated with antiviral drugs and then the vaccines arrived. We think that by administering it it would strengthen the immune system, reaching where the virus was, ”says Tejerina. But, he adds, "only a true clinical trial" would allow to determine the curative value of vaccines.
There are no ongoing clinical studies that analyze the connection between vaccine injection and remission of symptoms in case of persistent covid. The covid spokesman for the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG) Lorenzo Armenteros knows of the existence of cases like Moreno's, but "they are very informal data that come from surveys among those affected," he details. Regarding the role of the vaccine, Armenteros says that one of the theories indicates that, by increasing innate immunity, "it would eliminate the remains of the virus, but we are not certain." The SEMG will launch in a few days a survey among people with long-term covid who have been vaccinated
The coordinator of the Madrid covid collective Beatriz Fernández confirms the existence of cases of improvement. But the sample is necessarily small. In Spain, only those over 80 years of age and health workers have been vaccinated with the two doses and "the profile of those affected is that of a young population between 30 and 55 years old," recalls the LongCovid ACTS spokesperson, the platform that groups together persistent covid patients from all over Spain. "We demand that the curative role of vaccines be investigated," he says. And if so, remember that most of them are not health care personnel and are "at the end of the queue."
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