Russian experts sound alarm over post-Covid health issue

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People who recovered from the disease are at high risk of developing lung fibrosis, pulmonologists say

A significant number of Russians who recovered from Covid-19 are suffering from further devastating effects of the disease such as lung fibrosis, according to the Russian Health Ministry’s top pulmonologist Sergey Avdeev.

Specialists in the country have issued a warning as emerging evidence indicates that a substantial proportion of infected individuals, particularly people over 60, may experience prolonged post-Covid aftereffects.

Research shows that an increasing number of elderly people who had recovered from Covid-19 were at serious risk of developing post-infection lung fibrosis. Potentially deadly, pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which tissue deep in the lungs becomes scarred, making the tissue thick and stiff, causing shortness of breath and making it harder for blood to get enough oxygen.

According to Avdeev, Covid-19, which is still being studied, has presented new challenges for pulmonologists, mainly because of the large number of patients suffering long-term side effects. 

“We have been actively dealing with post-Covid pulmonary problems recently,” Avdeev said in an interview with Lenta on Thursday. He noted that health problems linked to post-Covid conditions include not only lung damage but also affect other organs and systems.

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“From this point of view, Covid, of course, has forced us to evaluate pulmonary problems in a new way,” he added.

Russian researchers are currently conducting clinical trials of a medication that could become a breakthrough treatment for patients diagnosed with lung fibrosis. According to Avdeev, the results of large-scale clinical trials of the Russian-made drug Longidaza are “promising.”

A recent study investigating Covid-19’s impact on lung function involved more than 400 people. Initial results show that a drug can improve post-Covid lung issues in vulnerable groups such as elderly people and patients with cardiovascular diseases.

In May 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that coronavirus was no longer a global health emergency. However, Covid-19 cases and related deaths are still being reported across the world. According to data tracked by the Geneva-based institution, 36,014 cases were registered globally in the seven days before May 19, marking a week-on-week rise of 2,336.

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