Immunological risk prediction of post-Covid-19 syndrome or "long Covid"
Covid-19 ranges from a mild to a severe, life-threatening disease. About 20% of all patients do not recover from the acute disease, a condition termed “long Covid”. We identified a distinct immunological signature in these patients and have developed a prognostic online tool to identify patients at risk of long Covid.
Background and scientific basis
In Switzerland, a study found that 26% of Covid-19 patients had persisting symptoms after six months. This condition is commonly referred to as “long Covid” or post-acute Covid-19 syndrome (PACS). PACS is a heterogenous disease with symptoms such as fatigue, dyspnoea and cognitive impairment. Nevertheless, all PACS patients have in common that they suffer from long-term consequences of Covid-19. At the same time, our knowledge of risk factors and treatment options is still rudimentary.
Problem and approach to solution
Early identification of patients at risk of PACS is crucial for proactive patient care and treatment. We have followed 175 Covid-19 patients for more than a year and extensively studied their clinical features and immunological responses. We detected a distinct immunological signature in long Covid patients and translated it into a prognostic score to identify patients at risk. Together with Prof. Milo Puhan, Corona Immunitas, and the Swiss Society for Allergology and Immunology (SSAI) we plan to validate the score and offer a new diagnostic tool.
Expected output and contribution to tackling the pandemic
We have developed a prognostic online clinical tool to detect patients who are at risk of developing PACS. Newly discovered risk factors, such as bronchial asthma, and a distinct immunoglobulin signature allow the identification of patients at risk of long Covid. By implementing an online tool, the project will support personalised treatment, prevention and vaccination strategies in groups at risk.
NRP 78 research project