At least one long-term symptom seen in 37% of COVID-19 patients, study says

People stand in line to receive a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in London Aug. 1. At least one long-term COVID-19 symptom was found in 37% of patients three to six months after they were infected by the virus, a study showed Wednesday.

People stand in line to receive a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in London Aug. 1. At least one long-term COVID-19 symptom was found in 37% of patients three to six months after they were infected by the virus, a study showed Wednesday. (Henry Nicholls, Reuters)


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LONDON — At least one long-term COVID-19 symptom was found in 37% of patients three to six months after they were infected by the virus, a large study from Oxford University and the National Institute for Health Research showed on Wednesday.

The most common symptoms included breathing problems, fatigue, pain and anxiety, Oxford University said, after investigating symptoms in over 270,000 people recovering from COVID-19.

The symptoms were more frequent among people who had been previously hospitalized with COVID-19 and were slightly more common among women, according to the study.

The study did not provide any detailed causes of long-COVID symptoms, their severity, or how long they could last.

It, however, said older people and men had more breathing difficulties and cognitive problems, whereas young people and women had more headaches, abdominal symptoms and anxiety or depression.

"We need to identify the mechanisms underlying the diverse symptoms that can affect survivors," said Oxford University professor Paul Harrison, who headed the study.

"This information will be essential if the long-term health consequences of COVID-19 are to be prevented or treated effectively," Harrison added.

The study also showed that people recovering from COVID-19 were more likely to suffer long-term symptoms than those who had the flu, CNN reported.

Dr. Amitava Banerjee, a professor of clinical data science at University College London who was not involved in the study, said this finding is "yet another arrow in the quiver against bogus 'this is just like flu' claims."

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