According to British researchers, the omicron variant of Covid-19 is unlikely to lead to Covid longer than the delta.
However, since the omicron is more contagious than previous variants, the fact that more people have been infected since the onset of winter means that more people are struggling with long-term symptoms such as cerebral palsy, headaches and fatigue. to be tired.
Full coverage of the Kovid-19 pandemic
A new study published in The Lancet on Thursday is an observational analysis of people enrolled in a project implemented by a smartphone app called ZOE Covid Study. Users regularly report any Covid symptoms, vaccination status, and other demographic information.
Since the launch of the app in March 2020, there have been approximately 4.7 million people, most of them living in the UK.
“For each subsequent wave of the virus, we look at whether different options affect the likelihood that Covid will last longer,” said Claire Stevez, author of the new study and a senior clinical professor at King’s College London.
Steves and his team found no difference in the long-term spread of Covid compared to the initial pre-delta strains of the virus.
“When Micron came in, we were really interested, especially since he passed through our population really, really fast,” Steve said. “We wanted to know as soon as possible what this meant for Covid.”
The researchers reset the data from 41,361 adults who tested positive for Covid-19 when the delta variant prevailed from June 2021 to the end of November 2021, comparing them to 56,003 adults who tested positive for omicron between December 2021 and March 2022. . When more than 70% of cases in the UK are considered omicron.
Long Covid is identified by the UK team as new or ongoing symptoms at least one month after the initial infection.
Almost 11% of people infected during the Delta period met the criteria. When researchers looked at people who became infected during the microwave wave, the percentage of patients with Covid over a long period of time dropped by 4.5%.
All participants were vaccinated before infection. Some studies suggest that vaccines may offer less protection against long-term covid.
Given Stevets and his team’s vaccination status, they saw a reduction in long-term Covid risk during the omicron wave. “It’s a sure find,” Steve said.
However, the study does not provide information on how long people have experienced Covid or the severity of symptoms.
“This is important information,” said Andrea Lerner, a medical officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. It has to do with a long-running Covey basic study called RECOVER, which aims to involve at least 18,000 people.
“But he doesn’t tell us the clinical details of what he’s going through or how long he’s been feeling the symptoms or effects,” Lerner said.
Increased incidence of prolonged Covid
It is not clear how many people can be Covid for a long time. Estimates generally range from 20% to 30% of Covid infections.
Although omicron does not cause long-term symptoms, especially for those who have been vaccinated, the number of people affected by Covid over a long period of time will not decrease, Steve said.
“Actually, it’s rising,” he said.
download NBC News app For full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic
It is unknown whether the new sub-variants of BA.2.12.1 and BA.4 and BA.5 in the United States will cause disease, as the UK report tracks infections while the omicron version of BA.1 predominates. Covid symptoms more or less prolonged.
According to NBC News, clinics specializing in long-term Coveid in the U.S. are currently seeing an average of more than 100,000 cases per day, many new patients recovering from omicron and still experiencing a range of symptoms.
“At our clinic, we saw infected patients in December, January and February,” the doctor said. Upinder Singh, professor of infectious diseases at Stanford Medicine in California and head of the infectious diseases department.
However, the ZOE app can collect user-managed data in real time, but the delay in Covid’s long appointments makes it difficult for physicians treating Covid to know that patients are infected during delta or omicron waves.
“Honestly, I don’t have the numbers to know if it’s more or less than after the delta,” Singh said. “We’re planning for now.”
Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, an occupational medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said his team was seeing long-term Covid patients infected during the omicron wave.
“The Omicron variant may be less risky for long-term Covid, but the number of people with long-term Covid cases around the world could increase rapidly,” Vanichkachorn said.
“Long-distance Covid remains a public health issue that needs to be addressed,” he said.
follow NBC Health on twitter & Facebook.