The presence of more than five Covid-19 symptoms in the first week of infection is significantly associated with the development of long Covid , regardless of age or gender, according to a new review published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. .
The review, conducted by the Therapies for Long COVID (TLC) study group , led by the University of Birmingham, UK, summarizes current research on the prevalence of symptoms, complications and treatment of long-term COVID .
The prevalence data pooled in the review highlight the ten most common symptoms of long-term Covid: fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain, cough, headache, joint pain, chest pain, smell disturbance , diarrhea, and taste disturbance.
The researchers identified two main groups of symptoms of prolonged Covid: those consisting exclusively of fatigue , headache, and upper respiratory conditions, and those with multisystem conditions including ongoing fever and gastroenterological symptoms.
Lead author Dr Olalekan Lee Aiyegbusi , deputy director of the Center for Patient Reported Outcomes Research (CPROR) at the University of Birmingham, says that «there is evidence that the impact of acute Covid-19 on patients, Regardless of its severity, it goes beyond hospitalization in the most serious cases, and translates into a continuous deterioration in quality of life , mental health and work problems.
«People who suffer from prolonged Covid tend to feel abandoned and underappreciated by health professionals and receive limited or contradictory advice,» he acknowledges. «More than a third of the patients in one of the studies included in the review reported that they continued to feel ill. or in a worse clinical state at eight weeks than at the beginning of Covid-19 «.
Dr Shamil Haroon , clinical professor of primary care and co-principal investigator of the NIHR / UKRI-funded TLC study at the University of Birmingham, comments that » the biological or immunological mechanisms of long-term COVID, and the reason why that certain people are more susceptible to these effects, which limits the development of therapies. It is essential that we act quickly to address these issues, «he warns.
In a comparison with other coronaviruses, the researchers suggest that, in the long term, long-term Covid patients may also experience a disease trajectory similar to that of patients who had SARS or MERS , pointing to the analysis showing that six months later Upon discharge from hospital, approximately 25% of hospitalized patients with SARS and MERS had reduced lung function and exercise capacity.
The TLC study co-principal investigator, Melanie Calvert , Professor of Outcomes Methodology at the University of Birmingham and principal investigator at the NIHR, adds that «the wide range of possible symptoms and complications that patients with prolonged Covid may experience highlights the need to learn more about the clinical course of the disease. There is an urgent need for better and more integrated models of care to support and manage patients with long-term Covid to improve clinical outcomes, «he claims.