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News >  Health

Spokane adults needed for study on ‘long COVID’

Oct. 19, 2022 Updated Wed., Oct. 19, 2022 at 4:46 p.m.

Dr. Katherine Tuttle discusses her study at a Spokane Regional Health District presentation on Wednesday.  (Courtesy of Providence)
Dr. Katherine Tuttle discusses her study at a Spokane Regional Health District presentation on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Providence)

What exactly is “long COVID” and how is it treated? Researchers are hoping to find out with a study that Spokane adults have been asked to participate in.

The team is hoping to help define the symptoms and effects of long COVID through the nation-wide RECOVER Initiative, a study from the National Institutes of Health. The study is seeking 150 adults in Spokane to participate, about half of whom have already been identified, said Dr. Katherine Tuttle, director of research at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

It is estimated that one in three people who have had COVID also suffer from long-term symptoms, although Tuttle said that number could change as the study goes on. There have been more than 96 million reported cases of COVID in the U.S. to date, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Long COVID symptoms can include physical and mental fatigue, even from simply watching a TV show, as well as brain fog and confusion, Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velazquez and Tuttle said during a Facebook Live discussion on the Spokane Regional Health District page on Wednesday.

“In addition to fatigue, we see many people who have trouble breathing,” Tuttle said. “They feel weak. They have trouble thinking.”

More severe symptoms can include chronic kidney disease, heart failure and chronic lung disease, Velazquez said. However, the full scope of those symptoms and their treatment is not fully understood, Tuttle said.

Tuttle said the information in the study is still preliminary and no concrete data has been made available yet.

“That is our goal. To fund the systematic search for truth,” Tuttle said. “It’s validated and it’s rigorous, and it’s not something of conjecture. It’s real data.”

The study will last four years, although Tuttle said it’s likely to continue “ad infinitum.”

The study was announced earlier this year.

Researchers are hoping to gather a diverse group of participants from the Spokane region, with an emphasis on rural and tribal communities, Tuttle said. People who have not had COVID are also asked to participate as a control group.

The national study aims to gather 40,000 people across the United States. Half of the participants will be babies, teens and children. About 2,000 will be pregnant . The remainder will be adults.

Adults who are interested in participating can find more information at studies.recovercovid.org or by emailing recover_csc@nyulangone.org.

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