HKBU studies show over half of COVID-19 patients have post-disease syndrome

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HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – November 1, 2023 – The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) School of Chinese Medicine found that 55% of patients seeking medical treatment at the “HKBU Chinese Medicine Telemedicine Center Against COVID-19” during The fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to experience at least one long-term COVID symptom six months to a year after the diagnosis of an infection. The most common symptoms are fatigue, brain fog and coughing.

Professor Bian Zhaoxiang, Director of the Clinical Department of HKBU School of Chinese Medicine (center), together with members of his research team, Mr. Cheung Chun-hoi, Deputy Director of the Clinical Department (2nd from left); Dr. Zhang Jialing, postdoctoral researcher from the Center for Chinese Herbal Medicine Drug Development (1st from left); Mr. Luo Jingyuan and Wong Hoi-ki, PhD students (2nd and 1st from right) of SCM at HKBU, analyze patient statistics to improve the medical community’s understanding of the symptoms during the early and middle stages of COVID-19 infection and deepen the postoperative disease. -COVID syndrome.

The study also found that patients who took Chinese medicines after COVID-19 infection took less time to test negative on rapid tests and experienced significant relief in symptoms compared to patients who did not take Chinese medicines.

The research results have been published in a number of articles in international scientific journals, including the Journal of Medical Virology And The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

HKBU established the “HKBU Chinese Medicine Telemedicine Center Against COVID-19” in 2021 during the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong to provide free telemedicine services to COVID-19 patients. Referring to the treatment protocols and clinical experiences in mainland China, the expert team of HKBU School of Chinese Medicine formulated the “Chinese Medicine Clinical Guidelines for COVID-19 in Hong Kong” as the university’s clinical diagnosis and treatment standards for COVID-19 . The Telemedicine Center follows guidelines to provide diagnosis, treatment and prevention services to COVID-19 patients, close contacts and healthcare providers.

Coughing is the most common early symptom of an infection

The HKBU research team led by Professor Bian Zhaoxiang, director of the Clinical Department of the School of Chinese Medicine, conducted a retrospective study using patient statistics collected by the Telemedicine Center during the fifth wave of the pandemic. The team analyzed the symptoms in the first four weeks of approximately 13,000 patients who were infected with COVID-19 and underwent home isolation from mid-March to early May 2022.

The results showed that 93% of patients experienced at least one symptom. The most common symptoms during the first week of infection were cough (91%), sputum (75%), dry throat (50%) and sore throat (44%). 17% of patients still had these symptoms four weeks after infection. Although symptoms gradually decreased over time, the prevalence of fatigue increased.

Chinese medicine accelerates virus clearance

From this group of patients, the research team selected 311 patients who had taken Chinese medicine for five days within ten days of diagnosis, and another 311 patients who had not taken Chinese medicine during the same period to assess the effectiveness of the Chinese medicine.

The results showed that patients who took Chinese medicine within 10 days of COVID-19 infection took an average of seven days to test negative on rapid tests, and experienced an average of four symptoms, which were significantly milder compared to patients who did not take medicine used. Chinese medicine. The average time to test negative for patients not taking Chinese medicine was eight days, and they experienced an average of eleven symptoms. The results show that Chinese medicine is an effective treatment for COVID-19 infection.

More than half of patients suffer from long-term COVID after six months

The research team conducted a follow-up telephone survey from November 2022 to January 2023 among 6,242 COVID-19 patients who sought medical advice from the Telemedicine Center between December 2021 and May 2022 to understand their symptoms and risk factors after six months to one year of study . infection.

The study found that 55% of patients still experienced at least one long-term symptom, namely ‘long COVID’ or ‘post-COVID syndrome’. The most common symptoms were fatigue (36%), brain fog (34%), and coughing (31%). In addition, women, middle-aged people, obese people, people with comorbidities such as ophthalmic or otorhinolaryngological diseases, diseases of the digestive system, respiratory diseases, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular diseases, and patients with more initial symptoms were more likely to develop long-term COVID . However, there was no significant correlation between taking three or more doses of vaccine and developing long COVID.

Professor Bian said: “HKBU established the Telemedicine Center during the COVID-19 outbreak to provide free treatment to COVID-19 patients. We analyzed the Center’s data to deepen the medical community’s understanding of symptoms during the early and mid-stages of COVID-19 infection and post-COVID syndrome. It provides the public with insight into the effectiveness of Chinese medicine in treating COVID-19. The study also shows that Chinese medicine teleservices can be an important part of Hong Kong’s healthcare and disease prevention system.”

To address the challenges of long-term COVID-19, Professor Bian’s team has initiated a series of clinical and basic studies, including a study in COVID-19 patients with diabetes and a clinical trial conducted in collaboration with other partners to investigate the efficacy , safety and mechanisms of action. of senlingcao oral liquid in the treatment of long-term COVID fatigue. These projects aim to further investigate the impact of COVID-19 and its treatment options.

Hashtag: #COVID #LongCOVID #postCOVIDsyndrome

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