The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus not only attacks our body during the acute infection – Covid-19 also leaves long-lasting late effects in many patients. Chronic exhaustion, neurological deficits and lack of concentration are typical of Long Covid Syndrome, but also organ damage, muscle pain and breathing problems.
How many Covid.19 patients are affected and how long the symptoms last is only partially known. Overall, quality of life and state of health are still poorer than those of controls. Long Covid could therefore last longer than initially hoped.
Now data from the epicenter of the pandemic is providing more insight – from Wuhan. In the longest study of its kind to date, Lixue Huang of Beijing Medical University and her colleagues tracked the physical and mental health of 1,192 early-onset Covid-19 patients over two years. Those affected were examined and treated for their infection with SARS-CoV-2 between January 7th and May 29th, 2020 at the Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan.
In order to determine the frequency and duration of late effects, the doctors subjected these women and men to another comprehensive medical examination after six, twelve and 24 months. They also analyzed blood samples, asked the test subjects about their subjective well-being and tested their walking endurance. Mental health was assessed using standardized questionnaires.
The evaluations revealed: Two years after the acute infection, 55 percent of the test persons still suffered from at least one long-Covid symptom. Even though the symptoms had diminished and diminished over time, the health and well-being of those affected was still poorer than that of the general population of the same age and income, Huang and her colleagues report.
The most common long-Covid symptoms were fatigue and muscle weakness – around a third of the patients were still suffering from them two years later. But sleep disorders, joint pain, tachycardia, dizziness and headaches also occurred. When it comes to long-term psychological effects, anxiety was the most common with 13 percent, eleven percent of those affected suffered from depression.
“Regardless of the original severity of the course, the Covid-19 patients experienced improvements in their physical and mental health – but the burden of late effects remained relatively high,” the researchers state. “Our results suggest that it takes more than two years for at least some of those affected to fully recover from Covid-19.”
According to the scientists, this underscores the need to further research the course and causes of Long Covid. The question of how vaccinations, therapies and virus variants influence the development of late effects must also be investigated further. At the same time, the results also demonstrate that a significant proportion of Covid-19 patients still require medical care and treatment months and even years after their acute infection.
What: The Lancet
This article was written by Nadja Podbregar
The original of this post “Late effects of Long Covid: recovery time is up to two years” comes from scinexx.