Clue found in search of cause of long COVID, Canadian researchers say

For some people who get COVID, their symptoms are mild. Others had it but didn’t even know it.

But a small group of people who contracted the virus end up with what’s been dubbed Long COVID.

“Some of the most common symptoms of a post-COVID-19 condition, or as you said, long COVID, are shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction, which people refer to as brain fog, and fatigue,” said Dr. Janet Diaz according to a World Health Organization (WHO) post.

“Those are the three most common. However, there were more than 200 symptoms that were actually reported in patients. So the list is quite long. Other symptoms patients or individuals may experience include things like chest pain, difficulty speaking, some have described anxiety or depression, muscle aches, fever, loss of smell and taste. So the list is pretty long, but the top three are the ones that have been described,” she said.

Researchers have been trying to figure out why some people get COVID for a long time.

Now, new research in a Canadian study has “identified a potential key culprit in causing some people to continue having respiratory problems months after contracting COVID-19,” according to a new report.

“A research team from five centers across Ontario focused their study on a microscopic abnormality in the way oxygen travels from the lungs to the blood vessels of long COVID patients,” reported Global News. “This anomaly could explain why these patients feel breathless and unable to engage in strenuous activity,” says lead investigator Grace Parraga, Canada’s Tier 1 Lung Imaging Research Director at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.”

“All of these patients had this anomaly. They all had really serious symptoms, so their exercise numbers were low, they were breathless when they exercised, and when we measured the oxygen levels in their blood in the fingertips after exercise, that was low too,” she said.

“These feelings of breathlessness are entirely consistent with our finding that we are not moving oxygen as efficiently as we should,” she told the Canadian publication. “It’s very exciting for us to actually find something that’s wrong — that it’s in the patient’s lungs and not in their head,” Parraga said.

Joseph Curl has been reporting on politics for 35 years, including 12 years as a White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.