No such thing as long Covid, say doctors as new study finds lab leak ‘most likely’ cause of the global pandemic

15 March 2024, 15:49

Doctors have said long Covid is no different to any other post-viral syndrome
Doctors have said long Covid is no different to any other post-viral syndrome. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

There is no such thing as Covid, doctors have claimed after a study found that a lab leak was "most likely" the cause of the pandemic.

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Long Covid symptoms are no different to the after-effects of other viruses like flu, the chief health officer of Queensland, Australia, said.

The symptoms, which included fatigue, brain fog, and shortness of breath, are not unique to Covid, Dr John Gerrard said.

Those experiencing it are just suffering with post-viral syndrome.

"In health systems with highly vaccinated populations, long Covid may have appeared to be a distinct and severe illness because of high volumes of Covid-19 cases during the pandemic," he said.

"However, we found that the rates of ongoing symptoms and functional impairment are indistinguishable from other post-viral illnesses.

"We believe it is time to stop using terms like 'long Covid'.

Read more: ‘Man in the Iron Lung’ Paul Alexander dies aged 78 after weeks after being rushed to hospital with Covid

Read more: ‘Hypervaccinated’ man received 217 Covid jabs ‘for private reasons’ with no side effects

"They wrongly imply there is something unique and exceptional about longer-term symptoms associated with this virus."

He added: "This terminology can cause unnecessary fear, and in some cases, hyper vigilance to longer symptoms that can impede recovery."

It comes as a study has found that evidence points toward a lab leak being the cause of the pandemic.

Researchers in Australia have been using a risk analysis tool to look at the chances of Covid being of "unnatural" or "natural" origin.

The study said: "The origin of [Covid] is contentious. Most studies have focused on a zoonotic origin, but definitive evidence such as an intermediary animal host is lacking."

Despite Covid having a high score from the criteria, which looked at things such as the rarity of a virus, the timing of a pandemic and the spread of a virus, researchers said the "risk assessment cannot prove the origin of [Covid], but shows that the possibility of a laboratory origin cannot be easily dismissed".

Author Dr Raina MacIntyre, who is also a professor of Global Biosecurity at the University of New South Wales, told "The key point [the findings] make is that the likelihood of [Covid] originating from a lab is non-trivial and cannot be dismissed as a conspiracy theory."

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