More than 200 possible symptoms of long Covid have been identified, ranging from fatigue to tinnitus, according to a large international study of post-viral condition’s effects.
Symptoms spanned 10 of the body’s organ systems, the study by Patient-Led Research Collaborative – a group of academics who are also long-Covid patients – and University College London has found.
More than 91% of people took more than 35 weeks to recover from the illness, 96% reported symptoms beyond 90 days, and 65% experienced symptoms beyond 180 days. Only 233 (6%) participants said they had recovered.
The researchers surveyed 3,762 people from 56 countries between September and November 2020 and found a total of 230 symptoms of long Covid. Sixty-six of these symptoms were tracked for six months.
The most common symptoms were fatigue, post-exertional malaise and cognitive dysfunction, often called “brain fog.”
Emerging OH challenges
Systemic, neurological, and cognitive symptoms were the most likely to persist for seven months.
The researchers were particularly concerned about the impact on memory and cognitive dysfunction on daily life and ability to work. More than 70% had difficulty communicating their thoughts and over 80% had difficulty working.
Nearly 70% of those who were unrecovered reported reduced working hours or were unable to work at all.
The study, Characterizing long Covid in an international cohort: 7 months of symptoms and their impact, has been published in the Lancet’s EClinicalMedicine journal.
The research team has called for the development of a robust set of clinical guidelines which would help assess long Covid.
Meanwhile, a separate study by seven UK universities, the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, has found that young adults admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are as likely to suffer complications as those over 50 years old.
Four in 10 of those between 19 and 49 developed problems with their kidneys, lungs or other organs when they were admitted to hospital during the first wave of infections.
Around half of all adult hospital patients with coronavirus suffered a least one complication. Kidney injury was the most common, followed by lung and heart damage.
Researchers looked at 73,197 adults across 302 UK hospitals during the first wave of the pandemic in spring 2020.
Consultant respiratory physician Professor Calum Semple, who led the research, said: “The data reinforces the fact that Covid is not flu and we are seeing even young adults coming into hospital suffering significant complications, some of which will require furthering monitoring and potentially further treatment in the future.”