Long-term Covid affects one in 20 people more than six months after infection

A new longitudinal Covid study based on the experiences of nearly 100,000 participants provides powerful evidence that many people do not fully recover months after contracting the coronavirus.

The Scottish Studies Between six and 18 months after infection, 1 in 20 people have not recovered and 42 percent have partially recovered. There were some reassuring aspects to the results: people with asymptomatic infections are unlikely to suffer long-term effects, and the vaccine appears to offer some protection from prolonged Covid illness.

What you need to know about long term covid

“This is a well-conducted, population-based study that shows we should be very concerned about the current number of acute infections,” said David Butrino, director of rehabilitation research for Mount Sinai Health System in New York. “We’re in trouble.”

Jill Bell, professor of public health at the University of Glasgow, who led the research, emphasized that the study revealed the widespread impact of long-term Covid on people’s lives. “Beyond health there are many other impacts on quality of life, employment, schooling and the ability to take care of yourself,” she said.

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The paper, published Wednesday in Nature Communications, represents the first findings of a follow-up study on long-term covid. Long CISS (Covid in Scotland).

While the range of reported symptoms and the inability to provide a prognosis for patients have long puzzled Covid researchers, the breadth of the challenge is clear. Between 7 million and 23 million Americans — including 1 million who can no longer work — suffer from the long-term effects of infection with the virus. Government assessments. That number is expected to rise due to Covid Local disease.

Previous studies have been challenged by the nonspecific nature of long-term Covid symptoms, including shortness of breath and fatigue, which are also common in the general population. Scotland’s Covid study, which included a control group, was able to identify which symptoms were linked to Covid, Bell said.

“Those infected with Covid were more likely to have 24 of the 26 symptoms studied compared to the general population who had never been infected,” he said. For example, sufferers are 3½ times more likely to develop dyspnea.

She went to one doctor, then another and another

Butrino pointed out that 16 to 31 percent of the control group experienced the same symptoms — similar to the false-negative rate of the PCR test, which suggests that some of the control group may have been infected. Bell acknowledged that some people with negative tests may have been infected, which helps reinforce the study’s broader findings.

Long hauler symptoms can vary from person to person. In the Scottish study, the most commonly reported symptoms were shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain and “brain fog” or reduced mental acuity.

Symptoms were worse among people sick enough to be admitted to hospital during severe infections – which does little to assuage experts’ concerns.

“People who are chronically ill are more likely to have long-term sequelae,” Butrino said. “The alarming thing is that mild cases far outnumber severe ones, so even a small percentage of mild cases developing long-term sequelae is a major public health concern.”

Butrino cautioned against assuming that asymptomatic infection is not associated with persistent symptoms.

“We’ve seen many patients with a confirmed asymptomatic case,” he said. “It will happen. It is statistically less common than those with symptomatic infection.

The study found that women, the elderly and those living in economically disadvantaged communities were more likely to suffer long-term exposure to Covid. People who already suffer from physical and mental health problems such as respiratory disease and depression also suffer from chronic Covid.

“Importantly, this study also identified an 11 percent subgroup that worsened over time. This is something that is often seen in patient groups, but not discussed enough in the public conversation,” said Hannah Davies, a member of the Patient-Led Research Consortium, a group of patients involved in long-standing Covid research.

While the study revealed no specific surprises, its nationwide design provides new rigor, Bell said. More than 33,000 people with laboratory-confirmed infections participated, along with 62,957 people who had never been infected.

Throughout the pandemic, the president’s chief medical adviser, Anthony S. American experts, including Fauci, continued to turn to British data. Comes from a nationalized health system and reflects trends in the population as a whole.

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Using National Health Service records, researchers sent a text message to every Scottish adult who tested positive for PCR and a group who tested negative for Covid-19 to participate. Those who chose to enroll answered online survey questions about their health before and after infection.

“Having access to survey data from that single large cohort is very powerful,” said James Harger, an immunologist at Imperial College London who studies the long-term impact of the coronavirus on the lungs. American studies often rely on small numbers or use multiple studies to create meta-analyses, which have inherent flaws, Harker said.

According to Putrino, one of the issues that deserves more study is the degree of protection provided by the vaccine. Recent studies show that the vaccine reduces the chance of developing long-term Covid, but not as much as previously thought.

“This is one of the most important things we need to understand next,” Butrino said.

A University of Glasgow team led by Bell worked with Public Health Scotland, the National Health Service in Scotland and the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and was funded by the Scottish Government’s Office of the Chief Scientist and Public Health Scotland.

researchers Schedule additional inspections accordingly Bell. The current study followed people six, 12 and 18 months after infection. Of those confirmed to have Covid, 13 per cent have shown some improvement.

“We’re trying to look more closely at changes in symptoms over time and what factors are associated with them,” Bell said.

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