New Orleans, LA

Tulane university launches 'biobank' for researchers to study causes of long COVID-19

Curtis Macken

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Tulane University has launched a new biobank of blood and cell samples from COVID-19 survivors to facilitate the research of COVID-19 recovery period length. These biological samples will be stored safely at The COVID-19 Biobank and Library at Tulane, COBALT, which will be available for scientists at the university and external collaborators across the country.

Some people only have a mild case of COVID-19 for less than two weeks, while the others face a range of symptoms, from dizziness to loss of smell, for months. The reason for that is currently unknown to the researchers.

“We don’t know what biomarkers for long COVID-19 might be relevant, so it is important to collect these tissues so that we can go back to them with specific scientific questions as our understanding of COVID-19 evolves," said Dr. Gregory Bix, the Clinical Neuroscience Research Center at Tulane University School of Medicine and director of COBALT.

Individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 are at risk for lingering symptoms affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and brain. Symptoms for long COVID-19 include losing a sense of taste and smell, problems with memory, fatigue, muscle pains, trouble sleeping, and hair loss. Doctors call this range of symptoms as Post-acute sequelae SARS-Cov-2 infection (PASC). Age, obesity, and other underlying health issues are expected to be risk factors for PASC, research suggests that some suspected cases also came from adults aged 18 to 34 with no chronic medical condition.

Bix said that they will look in the collected blood samples to determine whether the elevated receptor in samples might correlate with post-COVID patients' complaints. Bix and Dr. Michele Longo started the Tulane Neurology Post-COVID Care Clinic last year to treat patients struggling with long COVID.

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