A new study suggests why some people who get COVID-19 never return to normal and instead experience new medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, clotting dysfunction, activation of latent viruses, diabetes mellitus, or what’s known as “long COVID” after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In a recent preprint study published on medRxiv, researchers conducted the first positron emission tomography (PET) imaging study of T cell activation in individuals who previously recovered from COVID-19 and found that SARS-CoV-2 infection may result in persistent T cell activation in a variety of body tissues for years following initial symptoms.

Even in clinically mild cases of COVID-19, this phenomenon could explain the systemic changes observed in the immune system and in those with long COVID symptoms.

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