About this Research Topic
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the pathogen responsible for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), became a World Health Organization (WHO)-declared a pandemic in March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic led to an uncontrollable infection rate globally and has caused morbidity and mortality at an unprecedented scale. As of May 18, 2021, the total global burden associated with the COVID-19 outbreak has been 164,5888,489 cases and 3,412,711 deaths. The U.S., with 33,023,996 cases and 587,836 deaths, continues to have the highest burden of COVID-19 to date India, with 1.4 billion people, and the second-most populous country in the world has 25,496,330 cases and 283,248 deaths.
Emerging evidence is showing that many COVID-19 infected patients continue to experience neurological symptoms after the acute phase of infection, such as headache, ageusia, myalgia, anxiety, depression, memory fog, cerebrovascular accident, and encephalopathy. However, the characterization of these conditions and how it generalizes across the older adult populations are not clear. Presently, there is insufficient knowledge about the medium and long-term health effects experienced by the survivors of COVID-19 after discharge from the hospital. Clinicians are designing their treatments based on previous pandemic outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndromes (SARS) such as the 2002 SARS and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is a multisystem disease, with its respiratory complications affecting the cardiac (arrhythmias and myocardial injury), renal (acute kidney injury), gastrointestinal, nervous (neuropathy, encephalopathy), endocrine and musculoskeletal (weakness, pain, and fatigue) systems. Presently, there is an urgent need to generate knowledge to inform novel treatments for individuals who developed Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) characterized by ongoing health issues after acquiring the disease. To properly understand the impact of PASC on a person's healthspan, we will need to investigate novel treatments and follow Post-Acute COVID-19 cohorts as they might develop geriatric diseases prematurely such as frailty syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, and related degenerative brain diseases.
To inform future research and healthcare services, we are proposing a Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) Research Topic to address the unmet health needs of millions of individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic infection who developed secondary and prolonged symptoms such as fatigue, impairment of memory, concentration disorder, headache, pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and physical disability. Although there is no evidence supporting the virus infection at the brain level, there is strong support for microvascular disease, inflammation, and potential immune infiltration in the brain. In addition, there is no clearly delineated consensus definition for the post-COVID-19 infection associated symptoms and many new terminologies such “long COVID,” “post-COVID syndrome”, and “post-acute COVID-19 syndrome” have been adopted. Among the lay public, the phrase “long haulers” is a common definition. Here we are proposing a timely research topic issue to inform the field about potential diagnosis and treatments for the post-COVID-19 symptoms as well as its impact on aging to shed light for effective treatments as well as proper healthcare delivery (i.e., telehealth).
Keywords: COVID-19, Long Haulers, Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), Neurocovid, Neurological Symptoms, Cognitive Function, Health Outcomes, Aging, Rehabilitation, Healthcare Delivery
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