“The number of people who may have long COVID could be massive”
The latest and more great study of the long COVID updates what we published in June that follows this excerpt. A recent paper published in NATURE (August 9, 2021) entitled More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis is the more comprehensive study we found. We suggest reading the full systematic review.
We excerpt what in our opinion can help to understand the magnitude and diversity of the COVID 19 long-term effects, “Since first reported, there has been a vast amount of social media patient groups, polls, comments, and scientific articles aiming to describe the chronicity of COVID-19. In parallel, hundreds of scientific publications, including cohorts studying specific effects of the disease and lists of case reports, have been described6. However, a broad overview of all the possible longstanding effects of COVID-19 is still needed. Therefore, our study aimed to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of peer-reviewed studies to estimate the prevalence […].” The Abstract concluded “The prevalence of 55 long-term effects was estimated, 21 meta-analyses were performed, and 47,910 patients were included (age 17–87 years). The included studies defined long-COVID as ranging from 14 to 110 days post-viral infection. It was estimated that 80% of the infected patients with SARS-CoV-2 developed one or more long-term symptoms. The five most common symptoms were fatigue (58%), headache (44%), attention disorder (27%), hair loss (25%), and dyspnea (24%) (data of prevalence in patients affected). The authors end with a suggestion “Multi-disciplinary teams are crucial to developing preventive measures, rehabilitation techniques, and clinical management strategies with whole-patient perspectives designed to address long COVID-19 care.”
Francis Collins statement in May
From the beginning of the pandemic, COVID’s long-term effects have been studied (read HERE). It has recently been asked whether the late effects of COVID-19 can be classified as an individual pathology, separate from the initial disease. Read about CDC’s Project Inspire.
In this regard, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through its director Francis Collins, have also announced an initiative to assess adverse effects, which may occur weeks or even months after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
In the article published in Nature on February 23 (read the full article HERE), the NIH director also announced that it will spend $1.15 billion to launch a four-year project to investigate ” long COVID”, and listed the priorities that should be set for its study.
The main symptoms of ”long COVID-19” include fatigue, difficulty breathing, neurological problems, especially anxiety, depression and inability to concentrate; these can appear within a few weeks of infection and persist for months.
Some of the NIH Initiative’s main goals are to determine the biological basis of this condition, to analyze why some people are more vulnerable to it, and to find possible treatments.
Long COVID studies show that it could have a profound impact on public health
According to Francis Collins, “We do not know all the current cases, but given the number of individuals of all ages who have been or will be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the public health impact could be profound,” NIH director Francis Collins in the aforementioned article quote “A study1 of 177 people published last month determined that 9 months after infection with SARS-CoV-2, one-third of them were still reporting symptoms such as fatigue. This shows that with more than 115 million COVID-19 infections worldwide so far, the number of people with PASC could be massive.”