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UW-Madison Conducting "COVID Long Haulers" Research

Monday, February 22nd, 2021 -- 11:02 AM

(WMTV) Some Wisconsin COVID patients are still battling symptoms nearly a year after their diagnosis.

UW-Madison is conducting “COVID Long Haulers” research aiming to help patients with post-covid symptoms recover.  “I had some physical therapy in the hospital and they basically thought within a few month’s time I will be back to normal,” Dan Neuman, Wisconsin COVID patient said.

Neuman is facing a new normal filled with doctor visits, pills and pain.  “All they can do at this point is treat the symptoms,” he said.  Neuman caught covid in March 2020. He spent 10 days on a ventilator. Now he’s a covid survivor, but it’s a battle he’s still fighting.

“I’m very fatigued. I get out of breath quickly. I’m often exhausted. A lot of soreness. My blood pressure is very high and it wasn’t before,” he said.  He’s not alone.  “There’s times where I have a lot harder time breathing,” Lona Townsley, Wisconsin COVID patient said.

Townsley tested positive for Covid in April 2020. A breathing machine was a part of her treatment.  “My doctor claims that it could take up to a year for my lungs to get back to where they need to be, but there’s no guarantee,” she said.

She participated in a UW-Madison plasma study that improved her condition, but some symptoms still linger.  “I’m a little worried,” Townsley said.  Dr. Aurora Pop-Vicas is working to crack the case.

She explained she’s seen similar outcomes with other respiratory viruses, but Covid presents unique challenges.  “We are increasingly aware of how common this is because covid-19 is on the forefront of our efforts,” Pop-Vicas, UW-Madison school of medicine and public health infectious disease assistant professor said.

She said why this happens is still being discovered and the timeline for a cure is hard to predict.  “It will take some time. it’s not a one and done prescription, it will be an ongoing individualized recovery plan,” she said.

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