A vast majority of patients of long Covid-19 took over 35 weeks to recover, a study published in the Lancet’s journal EClinicalMedicine has found. Post-coronavirus health problems that continue for four or more weeks after infection is termed long Covid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study on long Covid-19, conducted by scientists from University College London, examined the responses of 3,762 eligible participants from 56 countries, making it the largest international study of people with long Covid. The study estimated the prevalence of a total of 203 symptoms in 10 organ systems, of which 66 symptoms were tracked for seven months.
The most common symptoms that respondents listed were fatigue, cognitive dysfunction [brain fog] and post-exertional malaise, or worsening of symptoms after exercise. Other symptoms included changes in menstrual cycle, sexual dysfunction, increase in heart rate, memory loss and blurred vision.
Over 91% of the respondents took over 35 weeks to recover from their symptoms.
“Of the 3,762 respondents, 2,454 experienced symptoms for at least 180 days (six months),” the study said. Among the remaining 1,308 respondents, 233 recovered and the rest, 1075, took the survey before completing six months of their illness.
Some participants experienced symptoms that are not normally mentioned in discussions on long Covid-19. These include but are not limited to: anaphylaxis and new allergies, seizures, suicidality, changes in sensitivity to medication, vision loss, hearing loss, and facial paralysis.
“This is important for medical researchers who are looking for the underlying [disease mechanisms], and also for doctors that provide care and treatment because it suggests they should not just be focusing on one organ system,” The Guardian quoted Athena Akrami, the senior author of the study, as saying.
The researchers have called for widening the clinical guidelines to assess patients with long Covid-19. The assessment should include neuropsychiatric, neurological, and activity intolerance symptoms, they have said.
What is long Covid-19?
The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that post Covid-19 conditions or long Covid-19 are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 .
Symptoms of long Covid-19 include difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, tiredness or fatigue, brain fog, cough, and headache, among others.
A policy brief by the World Health Organization says that it can affect anyone, but women and health care workers seem to be at greater risk.