When Symptoms Don't Stop

Treating those most severely affected by COVID-19 has necessarily taken priority during the pandemic. But could long COVID be the next wave of the crisis?

In a fascinating long read from the University of Cambridge, Jacqueline Garget speaks to those effected by the disease and those who are looking to find solutions.

Here is an extract:

In late April 2020 Dr Freya Jephcott developed a persistently high fever. When she went to hospital three weeks later, she tested negative for COVID-19. A scan (an extra precaution, given her risky day-job) revealed inflammation in her body but couldn’t point to anything concrete. After two months of fevers she developed painfully swollen ribs and stabbing chest pains. Again, doctors couldn’t find a cause. Things settled but then months later she started experiencing a new range of symptoms: loss of balance, poor coordination, and constant tinnitus - alongside constant fatigue and breathlessness.

I first interviewed Jephcott - a researcher in the University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine - last April for our ‘Tackling COVID-19’ series. She is well aware of the devastation an infectious disease can cause in unprepared populations, having worked with Médecins Sans Frontières on outbreaks in some of the poorest regions of the world.

Jephcott, 33, has managed to emerge unscathed from developing countries fighting outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola and TB. But - despite the negative test result - she believes she contracted the coronavirus in Cambridge. When we meet online in December 2020 she looks exhausted, and apologises in advance in case her words don’t come out in the right order.

The full artcile can be read here.