Program will run clinical trial aimed at helping COVID-19 long haulers

Local News

(KTXL) — Those who survive COVID-19 infections still run the risk of experiencing ongoing symptoms that can be difficult to shake.

Medical experts still cannot pinpoint the reason why the so-called “long-haul” COVID-19 patients remain ill. 

Last December, FOX40 heard from retired professor Marina Oshana in a University of California, Davis live discussion about those patients. Oshana’s fatigue and breathing issues continued nearly a year after she was infected.

“I just get out of breath almost immediately,” she explained.

While long-haul symptoms like chronic fatigue, breathing problems, headaches and achy joints can go away in a few weeks or months, others persist, regardless of whether the person’s infection was mild or if they went to the intensive care unit.

“There doesn’t seem to be a fixed pattern,” explained Ashok Gupta, director of the Gupta Program.  

Gupta runs a brain retraining program that helps patients deal with chronic fatigue syndrome, the chronic pain ailment fibromyalgia, food sensitivities and a variety of other ailments for which there is no sure medical cure.

“A lot of these conditions have many crossovers with long-haul COVID and we see that in our clinic,” Gupta told FOX40.

He bases his treatments on retraining the brain, which he believes instinctively overreacts to any number of conditions, creating an immune response that could negatively affect the body.

“If the brain catches onto something that could be dangerous, the brain errs on the side of caution,” he said.

His treatments — developed over 20 years — combine meditation, stress reduction, mental and physical exercises, and diet in what could be termed alternative medicine techniques.

Some limited studies show promise and many patients who could not find a medical cure for chronic symptoms, including long-haul COVID-19 symptoms, say the techniques work.

“Obviously, that’s anecdotal evidence and until we do a proper clinical trial, we’re not declaring that this a definitive treatment,” Gupta explained. “But we want to do the studies to prove this.”

Gupta said clinical trials involving several hundred COVID-19 long-haul patients will begin in the next few weeks.

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