What the latest research shows

Xavier Roger


Akshay Varma, 10, poses with the book he helped create, 'King of the Basement,' which is based on his experience with long COVID.

When Monika Kalva Varma’s son started getting chronic headaches, long COVID was the last thing on her mind.

But when the 9-year-old contracted COVID-19 in December 2021, Akshay Varma developed asthma, chronic headaches, heart palpitations and other symptoms that lasted for months.

“We had been reading about (long COVID) for adults, we didn’t know it was really a thing for children,” said Kalva Varma, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. If it weren’t for the pediatrician, “we may not have connected that it was long COVID.”

In the year and a half that Akshay struggled with his symptoms, doctors at post-COVID clinics have made strides in the pediatric field. Akshay, now 10, participated in a Children’s National Hospital study where researchers have been investigating the long-term effects of COVID-19 in children after recovering from an acute infection.


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