One of the most common symptoms in people who suffer from persistent covid is fatigue, a feeling that has a biological cause and is a response to the mitochondria of muscle cells producing less energy.
Dutch researchers published a study in Nature Communications in which 25 patients with persistent Covid and 21 healthy people participated.
The study found “obvious changes in the muscles” of people with prolonged covid, with mitochondria in muscle cells producing less energy than healthy patients.
Research participants had to pedal for fifteen minutes, a test that consistently causes long-term worsening of Covid symptoms, called post-exertional malaise (PEM).
Extreme fatigue occurs after physical, cognitive, or emotional exertion beyond an unknown individual threshold.
The researchers also looked at blood and muscle tissue a week before and a day after the test.
“We saw many abnormalities in the muscle tissue of the patients. At the cellular level, we found that muscle mitochondria, also known as the cell’s energy factories, functioned worse and produced less energy,” explained Rob Wust of Vrij University in Amsterdam and one of the signatories.
The cause of fatigue is “actually biological. The brain needs energy to think. Muscles need energy to move, added Michel van Wagt of the University Medical Center (CMU) in Amsterdam.
This discovery means – he assured – that we can now start investigating adequate treatments for patients with persistent covid.
Although one theory about long-term covid is that coronavirus particles can remain in the body, the researchers saw no sign of this in “existing” muscles.
Additionally, they observed that the heart and lungs functioned well in the patients, meaning that permanent effects on fitness were not caused by abnormalities in those organs. CMU’s Brent Appelman said in a statement that patients with this disease must monitor their physical limits and not exceed them, although they may walk or ride an electric bicycle to maintain a certain physical condition, each person’s limits are different. , CMU’s Brent Appelman said in a statement. .
Even some of the best forms of rehabilitation and physiotherapy are counterproductive to the recovery of these patients, as symptoms can worsen after physical exertion, Van Vogt added.
Although most people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus recover within weeks, it is estimated that about one in eight people will have persistent covid, with symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, exercise intolerance or tachycardia syndrome. Orthostatic posture. EFE