Testing Acupuncture for Long-Term COVID
Long COVID affects nearly 14 percent of adult patients that had COVID-19. It is characterized by symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks after the initial infection, including fatigue, brain fog and breathlessness. Although there is no standard treatment for this clinical diagnosis, researchers in the UK are currently studying the impact of acupuncture on this lingering condition, as the practice has been successfully used to treat similar symptoms associated with other ailments.
The randomized trial began in 2022 and is expected to collect data from 160 participants until the year 2025. Participants with long COVID are selected if they have a fatigue score greater than five on the COVID-19 Yorkshire Rehabilitation Scale. The experimental group will be offered weekly 15-minute acupuncture treatments for six weeks, while the control group will receive no acupuncture treatments. Both groups will be required to complete questionnaires on their general physical and mental fatigue at baseline and at two, six and 12 weeks. Throughout the study, both groups will be provided with general advice on managing their symptoms. As reported by NBC News, the participants receiving acupuncture so far “do seem to be responding” positively to the treatments, according to Dr. Imogen Locke, a clinical oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital, in London, who is leading the study.