NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new study by Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, recently found effects on the brain from even a mild respiratory infection from COVID.
“Our study demonstrated that mild infection in the lung can have a long-term consequence that involves the brain. In the future, we will be testing various treatments to be able to block such an impact on the brain of a mild COVID-19 disease,” Iwasaki said.
Iwasaki said they currently do not have a therapy or treatment for that process of blocking.
Some of the long-term symptoms include impairment, trouble concentrating, slower processing speeds and memory loss. They also see increased rates of anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and fatigue.
“What we found is that after seven days and after seven weeks of infection, we have found significant damage in the cells that are found in the brain,” Iwasaki said.
The study shows it may be your own body that is doing the damage to our brain.
“It’s a defense system that our body has to fight off infections, like the virus. However when it’s triggered too much in response to the virus, that in itself can cause damage,” Iwasaki said.
They have studied the vaccines’ effects.
“There are some reports showing that even people who are infected, if you get the vaccine within the first 12 weeks of infection, there may be a benefit to reducing risk for developing long COVID,” Iwasaki said.
These are preliminary results and there is still more research to be done on long COVID.
Another new study is looking at natural immunity from COVID infection.
“When we went into the Delta wave, they did find that people who had experienced previous infection were actually pretty well protected against a COVID infection related to Delta,” said Dr. Jaimie Meyer, a Yale Medicine infectious diseases doctor.
But Meyer stressed getting fully vaccinated and boosted offer the best protection.
New daycare quarantine rules are now shorter for younger kids who can wear masks. Meyer said the Office of Early Childhood Education’s guidance is now more in line with the CDC’s guidance.
“If you are not yet vaccinated and have been exposed, your quarantine can be as short as five days if you can then wear a mask,” Meyer said.
Meyer also weighed in on a new study on whether there is a protection level difference in people who have mild side effects or stronger effects after getting vaccinated or boosted. The study involved 200 vaccinated people about a month after their shots.
“They found people who had symptoms after vaccinations, more often women, younger who are low body weight, basically there was no association with having side effects and having strong levels of antibody protection,” Meyer said.