In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, there is increasing evidence to show that a considerable proportion of people who have recovered from the infection have long-term effects on multiple organs and systems, says the latest report of medical journal Lancet.
It was found that COVID-19 survivors had a remarkably lower health status than the general population at 2 years. In fact, half of people hospitalised with the infection have at least one symptom, the study says. Fatigue or muscle weakness and sleep difficulties were the most commonly reported symptomatic sequelae throughout the 2-year follow-up, regardless of disease severity.
Several cohort studies have highlighted that the health effects of COVID-19 could persist up to 1 year after acute infection, most of which had no control groups of individuals who had not contracted COVID-19 and focused only on symptomatic sequelae or respiratory outcomes. Hence, long-term (ie, beyond 1 year) and overall health outcomes of COVID-19 are largely unknown.
On a positive note the study stated: “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.”
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/AP1sdkAcCG pic.twitter.com/X2TNYuJtix
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) May 11, 2022
The primary objective of the study was to systematically and comprehensively characterise the longitudinal progression of health outcomes in COVID-19 survivors with different initial disease severity up to 2 years after acute infection, and to establish the health impact of long COVID. Besides, the study was aimed at establishing whether COVID-19 survivors had returned to a health and functional status similar to that of the general population 2 years after infection.