J30. J60. J90. Two years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, the first reports of people infected with coronavirus still feeling symptoms of the disease multiple weeks after contracting the coronavirus are multiplying on social media. Often young patients, who initially have a mild to moderate form of the virus and whose pain persists, will soon be named: the long Covid. Or when the disease seems to cause resistance in the body even though it no longer harbors the virus.
If Covid vaccines have a moderate ability to prevent the transmission of the virus, especially against a variant of Omicron, which is associated with an échappement immunitaire, however, which protects the grave forms of the disease. Et ce n’est pas tout: according to several recently published scientific studies, vaccination has reduced the risk of developing a long-term Covid. After an infection, it may alleviate the persistent symptoms.
An observed protective effect
In the United Kingdom, the Health Security Agency has screened the results of eight studies published on the subject. According to six of them, people vaccinated against Covid-19, who have been infected with the virus, are less likely to develop a long-term virus. But in proportions that vary from one to another. A US observational study conducted on the electronic files of US Veterans Health Administration patients found that the risk of developing symptoms six months after infection is reduced by 13% in patients vaccinated with Covid compared to non-vaccinated patients.
A British study, conducted on a sample of about 1.2 million people, reported a 50% reduced risk of vaccinated patients with persistent symptoms. Another, which has not been validated by its peers, concludes at a 41% reduced risk. “These disparate results are not surprising, in the sense that scientists do not take all the same criteria and symptoms to define what Covid long is,” he explains. 20 minutes Dr. Benjamin Davido, infectious disease physician and Covid-19 crisis physician at Raymond-Poincaré de Garches Hospital.
A protection that is not as strong according to age
“Among those under 40 years of age, the age group most affected by long Covid, there is a tendency to protect the vaccine, which is not obvious to evaluate for this category of patients who most often form little or no symptoms of the disease. What is also interesting is that studies show that a two-dose vaccination reduces the risk of long-term Covid and sequelae by more than 40% in those over 60 years of age. more likely to develop severe forms of the disease, requiring hospitalization and leaving sequelae, which in my opinion makes it another long form of Covid, details the infectiologist. We see that vaccination provides protection – interesting but not total – against the sequelae and persistent effects of the virus.
A beneficial effect on long forms already declared
According to the High Health Authority (HAS), 20% of Covid patients in France still had symptoms five weeks after they became infected. And one in ten would suffer from a long Covid three months after infection. “I have patients who were infected at the beginning of the pandemic and still have persistent symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and other pain,” said Dr. Davido.
Several factors explain this phenomenon. “High viremia, ie the presence of viruses in the blood, is associated with an accumulated risk of recurrence and long Covid, as well as the presence of autoantibodies that will be directed against the body, but few protective antibodies despite infection, continues the infectiologist. Or, vaccination will stimulate the production of antibodies and thus allow neutralization of the passage of the virus into the blood, the reactivation of the latent virus in the body. Here it supports the immune memory of the already infected organism and thus helps to alleviate or even end the persistent symptoms ”.
Act as soon as possible
But in this case, it is better not to drag. Another U.S. prepublished study by the Covid Patient Recovery Alliance on the records of approximately 240,000 coronavirus-infected patients in May 2021 found that people who received the first dose of vaccine after contracting coronavirus were less susceptible to developing a coronavirus. Covid as long as the unvaccinated and logically, the sooner they receive their injection after infection, the lower the risk of persistent symptoms. “It’s better not to wait too long to set up an outlet,” said Dr Davido. I have a patient who is having sequelae of her infection and is not vaccinated. However, vaccination could allow her to clear the virus in her organs, which has few antibodies. Vaccination must remain at the heart of our anti-Covid control strategy, it is a valuable tool but one that, like drugs, is not 100% effective: there are people who work with it and others do not. What is certain is that the longer it takes for Covid to take over, the more difficult the persistent effects will be. ”