US study reveals 1 in 10 get COVID long after omicron begins to identify key symptoms – KGET 17

WASHINGTON (AP) — About 10 percent of people appear to suffer long-term from COVID after being infected with the microbe, a lower estimate than earlier in the pandemic, according to a study of nearly 10,000 Americans that aims to help unravel the mystery disease.

Early findings from a National Institutes of Health study highlight a dozen symptoms that most distinguish prolonged COVID, the common term for the sometimes debilitating health problems that can persist for months or years after even a mild case of COVID-19.

Millions of people around the world have been suffering from COVID for a long time, with dozens of very different symptoms, including fatigue and brain fog. Scientists still don’t know what causes it, why it only affects some people, how to treat it—or even how best to diagnose it. Better definition of the condition is key for research to get those answers.

“Sometimes I hear people say, ‘Oh, everyone’s a little tired,'” said Dr. Leora Horwitz of NYU Langone Health, one of the authors of the study. “No, there’s something different about people who have been sick with COVID for a long time and that’s important to know.”

The new study, published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, included more than 8,600 adults who had COVID-19 at different points in the pandemic, comparing them to another 1,100 who were not infected.

According to some estimates, approximately 1 in 3 patients with COVID-19 have had COVID for a long time. That’s similar to NIH study participants who reported getting sick before the omicron variant began spreading in the U.S. in December 2021. That’s when the study opened, and researchers noted that people who already had long-standing symptoms of COVID -and maybe more likely wrote.

But about 2,230 patients had their first coronavirus infection after the study began, allowing them to report symptoms in real time — and only about 10% experienced long-term symptoms after six months.

Previous research has shown that the risk of long-term COVID has declined since omicron appeared; his descendants continue to spread.

The bigger question is how to identify and help those who already have long-term COVID.

A new study focused on a dozen symptoms that can help define long-term COVID: fatigue; brain fog; dizziness; gastrointestinal symptoms; palpitations; sexual problems; loss of smell or taste; thirst; chronic cough; chest pain; worsening of symptoms after activity and abnormal movements.

The researchers assigned the results to symptoms, seeking to establish a threshold that could eventually help enroll similar patients in studies of possible long-term COVID treatments, as part of an NIH study or elsewhere, for an apples-to-apples comparison.

Horwitz stressed that doctors shouldn’t use the list to diagnose someone with long-term Covid — it’s just a potential research tool. Patients can have one of those symptoms, or many – or other symptoms not on the list – and still suffer the long-term effects of the coronavirus.

Everyone is doing studies of long-term COVID, but “we don’t even know what that means,” Horwitz said.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Medical Science and Education Group of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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