Home Expert to present findings on long COVID; discuss impact on brain, heart, vascular systems
Health, State/National

Expert to present findings on long COVID; discuss impact on brain, heart, vascular systems

Crystal Graham
Ziyad Al-Aly
Image courtesy Virginia Tech

A global expert in long COVID will discuss the effects of the infection in a public lecture on Jan. 25 at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke.

Ziyad Al-Aly will present findings in a lecture titled “Long COVID: The Lasting Legacy of the COVID-19 Pandemic” at 5:30 p.m. Al-Aly directs the Clinical Epidemiology Center and is chief of the research and development service at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System.

Most Americans have had COVID-19 at least once, Al-Aly said, with infections lasting a few weeks.

However, approximately 10 percent of patients never fully recover with conditions lasting months or even years after the infection.

Long COVID is a condition that has caused fatigue, cardiovascular problems, shortness of breath, cognitive impairments and chronic pain.

“From all my education, we’re not trained to think that viruses, especially respiratory viruses, have these myriad effects in all these organ systems. So I doubted it for the longest time, but the results came back exactly consistent every single time,” Al-Aly said on a recent podcast.

“Dr. Al-Aly is a world-class physician-scientist and an emerging thought leader examining the hidden population health consequences of the pandemic,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Virginia Tech’s vice president for health sciences and technology. “We are especially excited to hear from him and share ideas as many of our researchers here at the FBRI are carrying out research on some of the key systems that are impacted by COVID-19 including the brain and the heart and vascular systems. Moreover, our molecular diagnostics COVID-19 testing team is very connected to his work.

“We expect to learn a great deal from his lecture and are honored to host such an eminent thought leader with our community, particularly as we see Centers for Disease Control data on COVID-19 severity indicators trending up yet again.”

Al-Aly’s research program is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The institute’s free public lecture series is made possible by Maury Strauss.

A 5 p.m. reception with refreshments is also open to the public before the lecture.

The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute is located at 2 Riverside Circle in Roanoke.

For those unable to attend, Al-Aly’s talk will also be streamed live via Zoom.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.