New Delhi: One in six unvaccinated individuals report experiencing COVID-19 health effects up to two years after infection, according to a new study published in The British Medical Journal. The study from University of Zurich, Switzerland, and other institutes examined 1,106 unvaccinated adults with an average age of 50 with a confirmed infection between 6 August, 2020, and 19 January, 2021, were studied, along with 628 adults (average age 65) randomly selected from the general population who had not had the virus.
Seventeen per cent of participants did not return to normal health and 18 per cent reported covid-19 related symptoms 24 months after initial infection, the study found. Overall, 55 per cent of the participants reported returning to their normal health in less than a month after infection, while 18 per cent reported recovery within one to three months.
At six months, the study found 23 per cent of the participants to be unrecovered, a number that reduced to 19 per cent at 12 months and 17 per cent at 24 months. Compared with people who did not have an infection, those with covid-19 were found to have excess risks for both physical problems, such as altered taste or smell (9.8 per cent), malaise after exertion (9.4 per cent), and shortness of breath (7.8 per cent), and mental health issues, such as reduced concentration (8.3 per cent) and anxiety (4 per cent) at month six.
The researchers looked at patterns of recovery and symptom persistence over two years in adults from the Zurich SARS-CoV-2 Cohort, an ongoing study of individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Participants provided information on 23 potential long covid symptoms six, 12, 18, and 24 months after infection. The study also took into account other potentially influential factors including age, sex, education, employment, and pre-existing health problems.
People who reported symptoms at all follow-ups or reported worsened symptoms were more likely to be older and to have pre-existing health problems, the study said.
The researchers acknowledged that these were observational findings and that there were several limitations, including that they focused on only wild type SARS-CoV-2 in an unvaccinated population and relied on self-reported health, which can be unreliable.
However, they said that regular assessments of a range of health outcomes, and similar findings after further analyses were found to strengthen the credibility of the estimates.
“Persisting health issues create significant challenges for affected individuals and pose an important burden on population health and healthcare services,” wrote the authors, and they call for clinical trials “to establish effective interventions to reduce the burden of post-covid-19 condition.” While most people who have covid-19 recover soon after the initial phase of the disease, there are others who experience persistent health problems, known as long Covid, which can impact their quality of life and ability to work.
(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.