NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Doctors at a regional clinic that’s testing the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines say they’re also learning a lot from patients who contracted the disease months ago — and are still recovering.
They’re finding what treatments are effective in helping someone dealing with the long-term effects of COVID-19.
“So, those are the people — I’m seeing more of those in my clinic who are healthy, who got COVID, and now they’re three to four months out and they’re still not well,” said Dr. Aaron Hartman of the Virginia Research Center, which is near Richmond.
Hartman has helped lead the regional testing of Pfizer vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19.
However, as they test the vaccine, doctors at VRC are also seeing those who have contracted the virus and are struggling to recover, which some health experts are calling “long COVID.”
“You got COVID, you got sick, but you’re still tired. You got brain fog, or you’re someone who got hospitalized, and you’re just not getting your muscle mass back. A lot of these patients are actually “younger” healthier patients, who had no idea they had other triggers — they lived in a moldy building, they had no idea that the hyper-mobility that made them good at sports also makes them more inflamed,” he said.
Hartman’s team has learned that vitamin D plays a critical role in prevention of COVID-19, treatment and recovery.
“If your vitamin D levels are low, you get more severe inflammation with COVID, you’re likely to die. You may know that 87% of people who die of COVID have low vitamin D levels,” Hartman said.
You can get vitamin D through diet, supplments and sunshine.
And Hartman gives one final tip for treatment and recovery from COVID-19.
“If you look at EVMS [in Norfolk] … some of the stuff they’re using, like IV vitamin C,” he said. “
Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Dr. Paul Marik’s group is one of the most researched, critical groups in the country. And they’ve been using some protocols like melatonin in their treatment.