A new study brings hope to COVID-19 patients struggling with long-term symptoms due to long COVID.
Researchers from Israel found that most long COVID symptoms that develop after a mild infection linger for several months but eventually go away within a year.
Published in the BMJ, the study focused on long COVID outcomes a year after mild SARS-CoV-2 infection. It also evaluated their association with patient age, sex, vaccination status and coronavirus variants.
The researchers used data from 1,913,234 members of the Israeli healthcare organization Maccabi Healthcare Services who had a PCR test between March 1, 2020, and Oct. 1, 2021.
Upon screening, 70 reported long COVID cases were analyzed in a group of unvaccinated patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 matched to uninfected people. The risk in patients with breakthrough Covid was also compared with unvaccinated controls infected with the virus.
For the longest time, there had been no clear understanding of the association between the clinical effects of long COVID with age, sex, vaccination status and variants, according to Medical Xpress.
To address this, the team examined and compared the conditions in unvaccinated people during early and late time periods after infection while noting the participants’ age, sex and SARS-CoV-2 variants. Recorded data were then compared to conditions in vaccinated people monitored during the same periods.
Cases wherein the patients got admitted to the hospital due to serious illness were not included to ensure that only those who had mild infections were assessed. Meanwhile, influential factors such as alcohol intake, smoking status, socioeconomic level and presence of pre-existing conditions were taken into consideration.
After analyzing all of their data, the team found that vaccinated people who got infected with COVID-19 had a lower risk of suffering long COVID symptoms, such as breathing difficulties, than unvaccinated patients.
“Our study suggests that mild COVID-19 patients are at risk for a small number of health outcomes and most of them are resolved within a year from diagnosis,” the researchers added.
Meanwhile, another study published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA recently found that about 90% of long COVID sufferers started with a mild infection instead of a severe illness.