Physicians and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are working to improve and increase care for Latinos with long COVID, who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, they’re conducting a clinical trial to study the efficacy of the medication fluvoxamine as a potential treatment for people experiencing long COVID side effects. Fluvoxamine, sold under the brand names Luvox and Faverin, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). It’s an antidepressant usually prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder. For several years, WU researchers have been studying the med’s potential to treat long COVID.

Some people who have been infected with COVID-19 experience symptoms long after they test negative. Long COVID is broadly defined as symptoms that continue or develop after acute COVID-19 infection and can be severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What’s more, patients and researchers have identified more than 200 symptoms of long COVID, affecting nearly every part of the body, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“We know in the United States, in general, of the 15% that ever experience long COVID amongst adults, about 18.6% are Latino or identify as Latino,” Melissa Simon, MD, MPH, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told Latino News Network (LNN).

In Missouri, Hispanics and Latinos made up 4% of the state’s population but 14% of cases during n Missouri, Hispanics and Latinos made up 4% of the state’s population but 14% of cases at the peak of the pandemic, reports LNN. To combat the rate of long COVID among Latinos and other citizens, WU researchers are working with community partners to identify needs and improve services to medically vulnerable, underserved communities in the St. Louis metropolitan region and rural Missouri.

“Under-resourced communities in St. Louis and rural Missouri have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and have not always been able to access the care they need and deserve for long COVID,” said Abby Cheng, MD, the lead principal investigator on the grant and a WU physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. “A communitywide partnership involving patients, trusted community organizations, primary care teams, medical subspecialists  and experts from other health care disciplines aims to increase available resources for these underserved populations.”

Latinos have often been underrepresented in medical research in the United States. If you are 25 years or older, had COVID-19 at least three months ago and have since experienced memory, attention and concentration problems, you may qualify to participate in this clinical trial. Click here to learn more.