Omicron less likely to lead to long Covid, says UK study

Omicron less likely to lead to long Covid, says UK study

A new peer-reviewed study from the United Kingdom published in The Lancet Journal has found that the Omicron variant of Coronavirus is less likely to cause long Covid than other previous variants.

Making use of data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app, researchers with King’s College London found that the chances of developing long Covid after Covid-19 infections were 20 to 50 % lower in Omicron patients in the UK compared to Delta patients. It, however, varied depending on the patients’ age and when their last vaccination was taken.

Some of the common symptoms of long Covid include shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, muscle aches, loss of smell and taste, cognitive dysfunction, which people call brain fog, as well as fatigue that last for months. However, the research team found that still, there are a good number of long Covid patients. People who have undergone double vaccination are better insulated against long Covid but triple vaccination did not make substantial difference.

In the King’s research, 4.5% of the 56,003 people studied during Omicron’s peak in four months up to March 2022, reported long COVID compared to 10.8% of 41,361 people during the Delta wave, in six months up to November 2021. The study did not compare vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. The team said that more study was needed to identify why Omicron patients have lesser chances of long Covid than other variants.

According to Dr Janet Diaz, Team Lead with the World Health Organization “any patient or person who develops post COVID-19 condition should seek care. The care pathways should be multidisciplinary in nature, meaning that they can include your primary care provider as well as relevant specialist rehab professionals, social care workers, psychosocial workers, mental health professionals. And that's the type of care people with post COVID-19 condition should receive. In regards to a specific treatment, we don't yet have one. The reason is because we don't yet understand why this develops. So, as we're learning more about the actual reason or mechanism of the disease developing, then we hope to have a specific treatment. Preventing Covid-19 is the best way to prevent long Covid. Take vaccines, use masks, keep physical distancing , regularly hand wash to keep Covid-19 away.”

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