PASC is the post-acute sequelae of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, or what we know as COVID-19. The condition is also called ‘Long COVID’, or Post-acute COVID Syndrome. More casually, people with the condition are known as COVID-19 ‘long haulers’. The post-acute phase is revealing itself more and more as we move into a more longitudinal perspective of the pandemic.
NIH (The National Institutes of Health) is reporting on PASC, saying that for most COVID patients past the acute illness, there is a return to normal health. However others suffer persistent symptoms months after they are no longer infected.
NIH has received $1.15 billion grant to research PASC. Among the initial issues targeted are how common it is, who is apt to be affected, and whether it subsides. Researchers now identify additional longer term problems not noted in the early days of the pandemic. These include psychiatric, neurological, renal and dermatological conditions.
Leo Galland, MD, a functional-medicine internist in New York City has said that PASC shares several key characteristics with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and chronic Lyme disease. These include problems with mitochondrial function (mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses inside our cells), fatigue, brain fog, and muscle pain… we see more organ systems involved. Chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath are common, as well as GI symptoms and abdominal pain. It’s also notable the degree to which they fluctuate. People can feel good one week and lousy the next, or even day to day.
As for the cause of such long-term effects, Dr. Galland speculates: Two primary mechanisms may account for long-haul symptoms… persistent immune imbalance and a disturbed gut microbiome.
For related information: