Two years after getting infected with COVID-19, half of people hospitalised with the infection have at least one symptom, a follow-up study by the medical journal The Lancet has said.
The Lancet Respiratory Medicine in a study said evidence shows that a considerable proportion of people who have recovered from COVID-19 have long-term effects on multiple organs and systems.
“Regardless of initial disease severity, COVID-19 survivors had longitudinal improvements in physical and mental health, with most returning to their original work within 2 years; however, the burden of symptomatic sequelae remained fairly high,” the Lancet said in the summary of its study.
“COVID-19 survivors had a remarkably lower health status than the general population at 2 years. The study findings indicate that there is an urgent need to explore the pathogenesis of long COVID and develop effective interventions to reduce the risk of long COVID,” it said.
NEW-Two years after infection, half of people hospitalised with #COVID19 have at least one symptom, follow-up study suggests. Read in @LancetRespirMed: https://t.co/AP1sdkAcCGpic.twitter.com/X2TNYuJtix
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) May 11, 2022
It said long Covid could persistently last to 2 years after acute infection, indicating that ongoing longitudinal follow-up is urgently needed to better characterise the natural history of long Covid and to establish when Covid survivors will fully recover.
“Future studies should further explore the pathogenesis of long COVID and develop effective intervention strategies to reduce the risk of long COVID,” the Lancet said.
The medical journal said given the huge number of individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 up to now, the sequelae after recovery from acute COVID-19 are undoubtedly a great health concern and might cause a big medical and socioeconomic burden.
A UK had in late April said not even one in four people have completely recovered from Covid a full year after being hospitalised with the disease, warning that long Covid could become a common condition.
“The limited recovery from five months to one year after hospitalisation in our study across symptoms, mental health, exercise capacity, organ impairment and quality-of-life is striking,” study co-leader Rachel Evans of the National Institute for Health and Care Research had said.
The most common long-Covid symptoms were fatigue, muscle pain, poor sleep, slowing down physically and breathlessness.
“Without effective treatments, long Covid could become a highly prevalent new long-term condition,” said study co-lead Christopher Brightling of the University of Leicester.