According to one of the most thorough research on long-term COVID to date, one in eight people who contract coronavirus experience at least one symptom.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been more than 500 million coronavirus infections reported worldwide. As a result, there is growing worry regarding the long-lasting symptoms experienced by those with long-term Covid.
However, nearly no research has compared long-term Covid patients with those who have never been infected, leaving the possibility open that some of the health issues may not have been brought on by the virus.
Over 76,400 persons in the Netherlands were invited to respond to a questionnaire online about 23 typical long-Covid symptoms for a recent study that was published in The Lancet journal.
The questionnaire was completed 24 times by each participant between March 2020 and August 2021.
Over 4,200 of them (or 5.5%) reported catching Covid at that time.
Three to five months after contracting Covid, more than 21% of those who had it had at least one new symptom or symptom that had significantly worsened.
The study documented symptoms both before and after a Covid infection, which helped the researchers narrow down exactly what was caused by the virus.
It was discovered that typical long-term Covid effects include weariness, loss of taste and smell, generalised chest pain, breathing problems, and muscle soreness.
Aranka Ballering of the Dutch University of Groningen, one of the study’s authors, described extended Covid as “an important problem with an increasing human toll.”
We were able to account for symptoms that may have been a result of non-infectious disease health aspects of the pandemic, such as stress caused by restrictions and uncertainty, by examining symptoms in a control group of people who were not infected with SARS-CoV-2 and in people both before and after infection, the researcher said.
The study’s weaknesses, according to its authors, include the fact that it did not cover later variations like Delta or Omicron and did not gather data on specific symptoms like brain fog, which is now recognised as a typical symptom of long Covid.
Future research “should include mental health symptoms” like despair and anxiety, as well as elements like brain fog, insomnia, and a sensation of malaise after even light exertion, according to Judith Rosmalen, a different study author.
“Encouragingly, emerging data from other studies” suggests there is a lower rate of long Covid in people who have been vaccinated or infected with the Omicron variant, they said in a linked Lancet comment.
(With inputs from agencies)