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Long COVID and post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and treatment: A Keystone Symposia report.

In 2023, the Keystone Symposia held the first international scientific conference convening research leaders investigating the pathology of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or Long COVID, a growing and urgent public health priority. In this report, we present insights from the talks and workshops presented during this meeting and highlight key themes regarding what researchers have discovered regarding the underlying biology of PASC and directions toward future treatment. Several themes have emerged in the biology, with inflammation and other immune alterations being the most common focus, potentially related to viral persistence, latent virus reactivation, and/or tissue damage and dysfunction, especially of the endothelium, nervous system, and mitochondria. In order to develop safe and effective treatments for people with PASC, critical next steps should focus on the replication of major findings regarding potential mechanisms, disentangling pathogenic mechanisms from downstream effects, development of cellular and animal models, mechanism-focused randomized, placebo-controlled trials, and closer collaboration between people with lived experience, scientists, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, by learning from other post-infectious syndromes, the knowledge gained may help not only those with PASC/Long COVID, but also those with other post-infectious syndromes.

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