Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Is long Covid just another name for anaemia?


HARDLY a week passed last year without some revelation about long Covid, and Global Health Now (GHN), no stranger to the pages of TCW, has been at the forefront of whipping up global concern about a disease which may not even exist. TCW has catalogued much of this nonsense.

GHN has struck again with a report picked up in its ‘go to’ source for all manner of Covid related hysteria, CIDRAP (the newsletter of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy, University of Minnesota). The CIDRAP piece is titled: ‘Low iron may play key role in long Covid’ and reports on a study from Nature Immunology titled: ‘Iron dysregulation and inflammatory stress erythropoiesis associates with long-term outcome of COVID-19’.

Note above how what is reported in Nature Immunology as ‘associates’ becomes ‘may play a role’ in long Covid in CIDRAP. As ever, the logical corollary that low iron ‘may not’ play a key role in long Covid is omitted. The phenomenon was reported in GHN as follows: ‘Long Covid patients showed more signs of difficulty regulating their blood iron levels, including anemia . . .’ An association becomes a ‘key role’ and then the subtle implication that this may be a problem of long Covid.

The original study of over 200 patients is well conducted and relates the haematological data to the reported severity of the original dose of Covid-19 and to reported long Covid up to a year after reported initial infection with Covid-19. Thus the observed association between anaemia and long Covid in the study seems to be a real phenomenon.

There is absolutely no problem with medical researchers seeking associations between clinical variables, and frequently observed associations lead to research where the direction of the relationship, the cause versus the effect, can be established. Only in that way can therapy be directed at the correct clinical targets. The authors of the study, to their credit, present their analysis with caution. However, the customary ‘Limitations’ sub-section of the discussion section of the article is missing and, indeed, no reference is made to any limitations of the study.

Allow me: I can think of one major limitation and that is the remarkable similarity between the symptoms of long Covid, which include ‘fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain’ and the symptoms of anaemia which include ‘fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain’. As far as can be ascertained from the original study, the haematological status of the participants in the study at the time of their initial reported infection with Covid-19 is not known.

Is it possible that long Covid is simply another name for anaemia?

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Roger Watson
Roger Watson
Roger Watson is a Professor of Nursing.

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