Different variants may cause different long COVID-19 symptoms, says study, Science News

A new study found that the various symptoms connected to long COVID-19 could be different in people, who have been infected with different variants of the deadly virus.

The study, based on long Covid and all the symptoms associated with it, will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2022) in Lisbon next month.

As per the study, estimates have suggested that over half of survivors of SARS-CoV-2 infection experience post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), more commonly known as ‘long COVID’.

From old to young, otherwise healthy to those with underlying conditions, the study mentioned that the condition can affect anyone.

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It has been seen in people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and those with mild symptoms. But despite an increasing body of literature, long COVID remains poorly understood.

Italian researchers did an observational study of 428 patients (254 (59%) men and 174 (41%) women) treated at the Careggi University Hospital’s post-COVID outpatient service between June 2020 and June 2021.

It was time when the original form of SARS-CoV-2 and the Alpha variant were circulating in the population.

The researchers have suggested that individuals who were infected with the alpha variant of the virus displayed, an early release from the ECCMID regarding the study.

As per the research, individuals who were infected with the alpha variant of the virus displayed different emotional and neurological symptoms.

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On the other hand, those who were infected with the original form of SARS-CoV-2 showed different symptoms.

The study revealed that at least three-quarters 325/428 (76%) of patients reported at least one persistent symptom.

The most common reported symptoms were shortness of breath and chronic fatigue followed by sleep problems, visual problems and brain fog.

The study performed a more detailed evaluation and compared the symptoms reported by patients infected between March and December 2020 (when the original SARS-COV-2 was dominant) with those reported by patients infected between January and April 2021 (when Alpha was the dominant variant ).

The researchers found a substantial change in the pattern of neurological and cognitive/emotional problems.

The study has been led by Dr Michele Spinicci and colleagues from the University of Florence and Careggi University Hospital in Italy.

Dr Spinicci said, “Many of the symptoms reported in this study have been measured, but this is the first time they have been linked to different COVID-19 variants.”

“The long duration and broad range of symptoms reminds us that the problem is not going away, and we need to do more to support and protect these patients in the long term. Future research should focus on the potential impacts of variants of concern and vaccination status on ongoing symptoms,” Dr Spinicci added.

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