A new study shows that six months later, more than three-quarters of COVID-19 hospitalized patients still have at least one symptom.
The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet on Saturday, involved hundreds of patients with the new coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
Studies have found that fatigue or muscle weakness are the most common symptoms, and people have also reported difficulty sleeping.
Scientists say that this study is one of the few studies tracking the long-term symptoms of COVID-19, indicating the need for further research on the lingering effects of the coronavirus.
“Since COVID-19 is a new disease, we are just beginning to understand some of its long-term effects on patient health,”
The professor said that this study emphasized the need for continued care after patients are discharged, especially those who are severely infected.
This new study included 1,733 COVID-19 patients discharged from Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital from January to May last year.
Patients with an average age of 57 were interviewed between June and September and answered questions about their symptoms and health-related quality of life.
Researchers also conducted physical examinations and laboratory tests.
The study found that 76% of patients who participated in the follow-up (1,265 out of 1,655) said they still had symptoms.
It is reported that 63% of people feel fatigue or muscle weakness, and 26% have sleep problems.
The study also studied 94 patients whose blood antibody levels were recorded during the peak period of infection as part of another trial.
When these patients were retested six months later, their neutralizing antibody levels were reduced by 52.5%.
The authors say this raises concerns about the possibility of COVID-19 reinfection, although they say more samples are needed to clarify how immunity to the virus changes over time.
The World Health Organization stated that the virus poses a serious risk of continuing to affect some people, even in young, healthy people who are not hospitalized. To date, more than 89 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed, including 1.9 million related deaths and 49.5 million recoveries.
“Because of the complications of infection with the virus, patients must be treated within six months or longer. This means that we will have less capacity and fewer healthcare staff to treat these people,” UCL Global Health Consultant And lecturer Oksana Pyzik told Al Jazeera.
Pyzik said: “This will have a knock-on effect for caring for various chronic diseases,”
The Lancet of the Italian “Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS” magazine, Monica Cortinovis, Norberto Perico and Giuseppe Remuzi (Giuseppe Remuzzi) also published a commentary stating that the long-term health consequences of the epidemic are uncertain.
They said: “Unfortunately, there are very few clinical picture reports on the consequences of COVID-19.” Therefore, the latest research is “relevant and timely.”
They said that long-term multidisciplinary research conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom will help increase understanding and help develop therapies to “mitigate the long-term effects of COVID-19 on multiple organs and tissues.”