Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers in New Brunswick have launched a study to examine and learn more about COVID-19 'long-haulers' – people who have dealt with the virus' symptoms for prolonged periods.

For people in healthcare like Emily Bodechon, who tested positive for COVID-19 early in 2020, her symptoms linger despite nearly a year having gone by.

"It just started as a sore throat, and then after a few days, I developed a really mild cough," says Bodechon, who is beginning to get back into her regular routine – but things aren't the same.

"I'm on two different inhalers, I'm still experiencing some breathing difficulty, and I still have occasional fatigue," says Bodechon. "I also have some neurological effects, which are mostly memory loss from last summer."

The long-lasting symptoms have prompted a team of researchers at Mount Allison University to investigate the reason for the persistent health issues in some people.

"The people who are not fully recovered, what we are finding, coming out of the survey so far, is that a common factor is ongoing crippling fatigue," says Mount Allison University biology professor Dr. Vett Lloyd. "We know from the medical perspective what happens when you're lying in a hospital bed, but what does it feel like from the patient's perspective?"

Taking part in the long-term study, Bodechon is one of hundreds of participants from New Brunswick and Ontario.

"I had joined a couple of groups online, support groups," says Bodechon. "But I felt like there wasn't a lot of information out there."

The goal of the study is to help develop treatments for long-lasting symptoms.

Meanwhile, for the health and safety of Maritimers, Bodechon hopes treatments will become a reality sooner rather than later.

"As one of the first people in New Brunswick who were infected, I wanted to be part of that research so that future people would not have to suffer like I did," says Bodechon.