"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Long COVID lasts not less than 18 months in most individuals: study

October 31, 2023 – A brand new study from Denmark showed that greater than half of individuals with severe cases of long COVID didn't improve after a yr and a half.

The study also showed that severe symptoms lasted for not less than 18 months, no matter which variant of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID – infected the person. The authors called this finding “surprising” and noted that other studies suggested that long-COVID became less common because the pandemic progressed.

The Results were published this week in International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Researchers analyzed data from 806 people in Denmark who were referred to the country's specialized long-term COVID clinics due to severe symptoms. (Long COVID is a widespread condition during which a mixture of greater than a dozen COVID-19 symptoms — resembling fatigue and brain fog — last for months, sometimes with disabling effects.)

The similarities between people within the study who developed long COVID suggest that the explanation for the disease is identical no matter which variant led to the initial infection, the authors write. When patients underwent rehab, they showed some improvement, but their overall symptoms remained severe.

Some differences were observed based on the variant that caused the initial infection in study participants. The authors found that those infected in the course of the Omicron era had symptoms that led to a lower quality of life. Omicron infections were significantly less more likely to lead to an extended COVID illness with “impairment of the sense of smell,” which was somewhat expected since overall fewer people infected with Omicron lost their sense of smell. The study also showed that folks infected in the course of the Delta and Omicron waves tended to be more physically exhausted.

More than half of the Danish population was infected with Omicron, and the authors said the prevalence of individuals infected with Omicron of their study suggests that a “significant” number of individuals infected with Omicron could potentially develop long COVID.

CDC Survey data from September shows that 15% of U.S. adults have had Long COVID and about 5% say they currently have the disease. Earlier this yr, the US government announced a $1.15 billion plan to raised understand, treat and forestall long COVID.

In their conclusion, the Danish researchers suggested that development of long-term COVID treatments concentrate on helping individuals with probably the most severe cases of the disease.

“We suggest that the search for long-term COVID treatment options focus on these severely affected patients in order to develop future new treatments that we believe will be effective against all SARS-CoV-2 variants,” write.