How to Invest in Heart Research as COVID-19 Heart Impacts Increase | ETF Trends

Study after study continues to be published on the ongoing aftereffects of people that have had COVID-19 as scientists and researchers race to better understand the virus that has infected over 83 million people and has been responsible for over 1 million deaths in the U.S. alone, reports the CDC. A link that is increasingly being made is the long-term impact on the heart, both through long-COVID as well as from having had the virus at any point.

A study published in Nature back in August found that 11% of COVID-19 patients reported heart palpitations (increased heart rate) as one of their symptoms, with symptoms continuing long after recovery. This type of symptom is linked more broadly to POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), a heart condition that affects more than 24 million people and is on the rise due to pandemic infections, reports Bloomberg.

Symptoms of POTS include brain fog, lightheadedness, gastric upset, nausea, headaches, and a whole host of other symptoms and can culminate in chronic fatigue. POTS has to do with an arhythmic heartbeat and cardiologists began treating the heart palpitations experienced by POTS patients with the same medication used for heart-failure patients, to good effect, directly before the onset of the pandemic. It’s now being used to treat post-COVID POTS patients.

The links between heart impacts and long-COVID, patients that were hospitalized with COVID, and COVID-19 infections in general continue to grow, with doctors and researchers working to treat symptoms while racing to understand the underlying impacts on the heart and body.

“This is such a complex disease,” said Dr. Pam Taum, cardiologist and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “The best approach is to say, ‘OK, what are the things that we can treat?’ ”

Investing in Heart Research and Heart Health with HART

Over 127 million Americans over the age of 20 currently live with heart disease. The IQ Healthy Hearts ETF (HART) offers a unique investment opportunity by investing in heart health holistically while also donating a portion of funds to the American Heart Association, a major funder of scientific research surrounding cardiovascular diseases.

HART seeks to provide exposure to companies that diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease, companies that have above-average involvement in healthy food and wellness products, companies that offer solutions for people looking to track their fitness and participate in regular exercise, and companies that provide health education resources through IT services.

The fund seeks to track the IQ Candriam Healthy Hearts Index and invests across all market caps and in the U.S. and emerging markets. It does exclude some countries, including China. Companies are screened thematically for heart health-related revenue and/or impact on heart health objectives as laid out by the fund. The index also utilizes an exclusionary screen for companies that aren’t compliant with the UN Global Compact or engage in certain activities such as animal testing, nuclear exposure, and gambling. Companies that operate in countries with oppressive regimes are also excluded.

HART carries an expense ratio of 0.45% and currently invests in 80 companies.

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