Exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus can lead to a serious and potentially fatal condition called lung fibrosis. Studies suggest that a significant percentage of individuals, potentially as high as 80 percent, may be affected by this condition, even those who had asymptomatic or mild infections or have been vaccinated. Not only can SARS-CoV-2 trigger lung fibrosis, but it can also lead to fibrosis in other organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
One concerning aspect of lung fibrosis is that it can be difficult to recognize, especially in the early stages. X-rays may not effectively detect it, and CT scans with the use of dye are often required for identification. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough, fatigue, weight loss, decreased appetite, clubbing of the fingers or toes, and joint and muscle pain.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), the most common form of lung fibrosis. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and slowing down the progression of the disease. While there are pharmaceutical drugs available that can help with slowing down the progression, they may also come with adverse effects. In advanced stages, palliative care becomes the primary focus.
While not all cases of lung fibrosis progress, it is important to note that in some instances, lung fibrosis can transform into lung carcinoma or cancer. However, this is not a guaranteed outcome for all individuals with lung fibrosis.
Reinfections with different SARS-CoV-2 variants and sub-lineages may increase the risk of developing lung fibrosis or contribute to its progression. Constant reinfections can heighten the likelihood of lung fibrosis, and emerging data suggests that the JN.1 variant and its derivatives have a higher affinity for lung cells, potentially leading to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), lung inflammation, and ultimately, lung fibrosis.
Despite the potential severity of lung fibrosis, there seems to be a lack of awareness and attention given to this issue. Health authorities and the mainstream media have not adequately addressed the risk of lung fibrosis in post-COVID individuals, and regular health screenings, especially for lung fibrosis, have not been widely recommended. As a result, many individuals may be experiencing reduced cardiorespiratory function, breathing difficulties, fatigue, and limitations in physical activity. The true extent of fatal outcomes from lung fibrosis is yet to be seen as the condition silently progresses in millions of post-COVID individuals.
In light of the global spread of the highly transmissible JN.1 variant and its potential to reinfect individuals previously exposed to other SARS-CoV-2 variants, there is an urgent need for further studies to investigate the relationship between this variant and the development of lung fibrosis. It is crucial that the medical community, health authorities, and the media prioritize addressing this issue and raising awareness about the risks and long-term consequences of lung fibrosis in post-COVID individuals.