Long-term complications of COVID-19

07 Mar 2022

SACKVILLE, NB – A Mount Allison University research team is expanding their cross-country study of long-term health impacts around COVID-19. Biology professor Dr. Vett Lloyd is studying the extended complications of COVID-19, research she initially started in 2021, with the goal of learning more about the virus, its impact on Canadians, healthcare, and recovery.

Mount Allison biology professor Dr. Vett Lloyd

Lloyd, working with research partners at the University of Guelph and New Brunswick’s Upper River Valley Hospital, opened up an online survey just over a year ago to hear directly from individuals who have or had COVID-19 to learn about their experience and recovery.

“There’s been little studied around the Canadian experience with long COVID-19 as we all continue to navigate the pandemic,” says Lloyd. “Our team wanted to hear from individuals who had had COVID, particularly those who had experienced long-term effects of it, being sick for more than six weeks or having reoccurring or continued health issues.”

And they heard from a lot of people. Over 700 people from across the country responded. The research team is now looking to move to the next phase of the study, using a follow-up survey to hear how individuals are coping with or recovering from the illness.

“We are reaching out to our first participants and also opening the survey up to new individuals who have been or are sick,” says Lloyd. “With new variants continuing to emerge, there’s a lot more people who have been affected. Learning about their experiences will hopefully help provide a roadmap for current and future suffers of long COVID.”

Lloyd says along with documenting individual’s health conditions and symptoms, it’s also important to learn about their patient experience, as well as how potential risk factors, such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, and autoimmune conditions can affect one’s health, during the pandemic.  

“Our study timeline allowed us to hear from people during both the first and second waves of COVID-19 in Canada, both about their illness and their experiences with the health care system. These perspectives are important ones are we go forward in this pandemic,” says Lloyd.

Biology student Mackenzie Scott is part of the research team working on the long COVID study in Dr. Vett Lloyd's lab

Lloyd and her research team, including Mount Allison students, will begin the second part of their study this spring. This will include a follow-up online survey as well as blood tests for a subset of Maritime-based participants with consent. These samples will be used to study how the immune system reacts to COVID-19 and potential for illness caused from other underlying conditions or factors as a result.  

Survey links:   

All content for the study has been reviewed and approved by Mount Allison University’s Research Ethics Board. Researchers anticipate being able to report on their updated findings over the next year.  

Lloyd’s study is funded in part by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) in partnership with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).


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