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Newlywed, mom ‘COVID long haulers’ battle debilitating symptoms months later

Doctors say they’re bracing for a “tsunami” of “COVID long haulers”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the U.S., experts are noticing another wave of the pandemic with what they’re calling “COVID long-haulers,” or people suffering debilitating symptoms months after having the coronavirus.

Doctors say they are seeing many people who have recovered from COVID but are finding themselves still not well.

Caitlin Barber, a 27-year-old newlywed, is one of these “COVID long haulers,” who led a healthy lifestyle with her husband and spent time training as a runner. She was also a dietician at a nursing home.

Caitlin Barber poses for a photo after a marathon.

Caitlin Barber poses for a photo after a marathon.

Caitlin Barber poses for a photo after a marathon.

“We were living the newlywed dream, you know and loving life,” Barber told “Good Morning America.”

In March, things changed instantly when she was diagnosed with COVID-19. Barber recovered from the disease, but getting rid of the virus wouldn’t be the end of it.

Seven months after getting COVID, Barber said that the side effects of the disease have lingered, affecting her ability to walk on her own and even do simple tasks like showering.

“We kind of call it the Corona Coaster because one day could be okay, and the next day I’m on the floor, having convulsions, thinking I’m having a heart attack,” said Barber.

Michaelene Carlton, a mom of two from Delaware, has also been struggling since recovering from COVID-19. Some of the symptoms she’s been experiencing are extreme headaches.

“A bad day is some days me not being able to get out of bed,” Carlton told “GMA.” “The headaches are so extreme that I’m taking migraine medicine and sleeping for 14 to 16 hours a day.”

Because of how bad their symptoms were getting, both women sought help online among a community of people experiencing the same thing after recovering from COVID-19. It was in the Facebook support group SurvivorCorps that each learned about Mount Sinai’s post-COVID clinic — the largest clinic in the country dedicated to treating long haulers.

“What we’re seeing at the center is a very wide distribution of both age, sex, ethnicity, preexisting conditions versus healthy patients,” said Dr. Zijian Chen, director of Mount Sinai’s post COVID clinic. “You’re not protected if you’re young and healthy, unfortunately.”

At Mount Sinai, they’re experiencing an influx of patients who are turning to them for help, and the waitlist is growing.

“I have patients not only across the country, but across the world that are seeking advice because they just haven’t been able to find the support in terms of the healthcare system,” said Mount Sinai’s Dr. Dayna McCarthy.

Chen also warned that the growing number of people experiencing COVID long hauler symptoms may have major consequences down the line.

“This other group of patients with symptoms are unrelenting that need to see many

AIM ImmunoTech Announces IRB Approval to Enroll COVID-19 ‘Long Haulers’ in the AMP-511 ME/CFS Clinical Trial of Ampligen

COVID-19 Patients May Continue to Experience Chronic Fatigue-Like Symptoms

Charles Lapp, MD

Charles Lapp, MD, at a recent AIM ImmunoTech Inc. planning meeting on COVID-19-induced chronic fatigue in ‘Long Haulers,’ at the Hunter-Hopkins Center, Charlotte, N.C.
Charles Lapp, MD, at a recent AIM ImmunoTech Inc. planning meeting on COVID-19-induced chronic fatigue in ‘Long Haulers,’ at the Hunter-Hopkins Center, Charlotte, N.C.
Charles Lapp, MD, at a recent AIM ImmunoTech Inc. planning meeting on COVID-19-induced chronic fatigue in ‘Long Haulers,’ at the Hunter-Hopkins Center, Charlotte, N.C.

OCALA, Fla., Oct. 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AIM ImmunoTech Inc. (NYSE American: AIM) is pleased to announce that it has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the expansion of the AMP-511 Expanded Access Program (EAP) clinical trial for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) to include patients previously diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2, but who still demonstrate chronic fatigue-like symptoms. Patients in the trial are treated with AIM’s flagship pipeline drug Ampligen.

These patients — commonly referred to as Post-COVID-19 Chronic Fatigue (PCCF) / “Long Haulers” because of the persistence of their symptoms — will be able to receive Ampligen treatments alongside the ME/CFS patients in the EAP. Up to 20 of the 100 active participants can be Long Haulers, according to the new trial protocol amendment. AIM is currently preparing the IRB-approved protocol for submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).

“It is anticipated that COVID-19 will trigger a large number of CFS cases, providing an opportunity for the medical community to learn more about the onset and pathogenesis of CFS,” according to Charles Lapp, MD, a global expert in ME/CFS. “The investigational immune-modulating antiviral drug Ampligen might have a role to play in this scenario.”

Many survivors of the first SARS-CoV-1 epidemic in 2003 continued to report classic chronic fatigue-like symptoms after recovering from the acute illness. In fact, approximately 27% of survivors met the CDC criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (See: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/415378). There is now increasing evidence that patients with COVID-19 — the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 — can develop a similar, ME/CFS-like illness (See: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2768351). AIM CEO Thomas K. Equels states, “With millions of U.S. cases of COVID-19 already on record we can expect a tidal wave of new U.S. cases of COVID-19 sufferers who will exhibit serious chronic fatigue-like symptoms. In addition, unpublished data from AIM indicates that ME/CFS patients respond better to Ampligen the earlier they receive the drug, so enrolling ‘Long Haulers’ earlier in their diagnosis could potentially benefit these patients while also providing valuable information for all ME/CFS patients.”

In June, AIM filed a provisional utility patent application for Ampligen as a potential therapy for COVID-19-induced ME/CFS-like illness (See: https://aimimmuno.irpass.com/AIM-ImmunoTech-Files-Provisional-Patent-Application-for-the-Use-of-AmpligenR-as-a-Potential-Therapy-for-COVID-19-Induced-Chronic-Fatigue).

About AIM ImmunoTech Inc.
AIM ImmunoTech Inc. is an immuno-pharma company focused on the research and development of therapeutics to treat multiple types of cancers, immune disorders, and viral diseases, including COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Cautionary Statement

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