FORT LAUDERDALE/DAVIE, Fla. – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, health care providers are finding more and more patients are experiencing lingering symptoms after recovering from the virus. These symptoms can vary from being bone-tired, utterly exhausted, or drained of energy , but in most cases they continue to negatively impact the patient’s overall well-being and ability to return to normal activities. While the medical community is still working hard to address the virus itself and racing toward a vaccine, there is very little known or being done to address these residual health issues being experienced by those now called “COVID long haulers.”
But all of that is about to change, thanks to research scientists at Nova Southeastern University (NSU.)
Nancy Klimas, M.D.
“With our long-standing research into ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, we’ve been selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin researching these symptoms in COVID-19 patients,” said Nancy Klimas, M.D. “Because the symptoms are so similar – joint and muscle pain, severe fatigue and memory and cognitive issues – to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, NSU is uniquely positioned to study this emerging development in the pandemic.”
With more than 30 years of professional experience, Dr. Klimas has achieved international recognition for her research and clinical efforts in multi-symptom disorders, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), Gulf War illness (GWI), fibromyalgia and other neuro-immune disorders. Because of her expertise and the work she is involved with at the university, the CDC has awarded NSU a federal contract of more than $4 million to study these residual symptoms in COVID-19 patients.
NSU is the only institution to receive this federal contract.
Dr. Klimas, who is also the Director of NSU’s Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine, said that similar symptoms were identified in patients after other viral infections, such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. Over the years, patients suffering from these symptoms were given a variety of treatments, including respiratory, cardiovascular and physical therapy. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, and in some cases, existing therapies can actually make the patient worse.
That’s why this research is so important – with COVID-19 so widespread, there are going to be thousands upon thousands of long-haulers who are going to need help.
For this research study, NSU will work with the Florida Department of Health to identify potential participants. NSU researchers