New Delhi: The risk of long COVID and its lingering symptoms present very differently across diverse populations, according to a study which suggests that further investigation is needed to accurately define the disease and improve diagnosis and treatment. The study, published recently in the journal Nature Communications, analysed electronic health records in the US to better understand the persistence of symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection, also known as long COVID, among broad, diverse populations. Mr. Chengxi Zang, an instructor in population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine, US, and lead author of the study.
Long COVID is a new disease that is very complicated and quite difficult to characterise. It affects multiple organs and presents a severe burden to society, making it urgent that we define this disease and determine how well that definition applies among different populations. This paper provides the basis for furthering research on long COVID.
The team studied electronic health records from two clinical research networks that are part of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet). One dataset included data from 11 million New York-based patients, while the other included 16.8 million patients from Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
The team identified a broad list of diagnoses that occurred more frequently in patients who had recently had COVID-19 compared with non-infected individuals.
The researchers also found more types of symptoms and higher risk of long COVID in New York City than Florida.
Specific conditions found across the New York City and Florida populations included dementia, hair loss, sores in the stomach and small intestine, blood clots in the lung, chest pain, abnormal heartbeat and fatigue, they said.
Our approach, which uses machine learning with electronic health records, provides a data-driven way to define long COVID and determine how generalisable our definition of the disease is, Mr. Zang said.
Comparing records across diverse populations in regions that experienced the COVID-19 pandemic differently highlighted how variable long COVID is for patients and emphasised the need for further investigation to improve the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Some of the differences between the results from the two populations might be explained by the fact that New York City had a more diverse patient population, endured one of the first waves of the pandemic and faced the lack of personal protective equipment such as masks, compared with Florida, Mr. Zang added.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.