The negative health impacts of severe cases of COVID-19 continue to affect many people even a year after contracting the disease, making it urgent to develop treatments, a UK study published on Sunday showed.
“Without effective treatments, prolonged COVID could become a highly prevalent new long-term condition,” said Christopher Brightling of the University of Leicester, who co-led the study, published in the journal Respiratory Medicine Lancet newspaper.
What did the study find?
The study, which involved a total of more than 2,300 people, showed that only 26% of those who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 reported full recovery after five months and only 28.9% after a full year .
According to the study, women were 33% less likely than men to fully recover.
Those who required mechanical ventilation while in hospital and obese people were at even higher risk.
The most common symptoms reported by long-term COVID sufferers were shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle pain, sleep problems, limb weakness, and impaired mental health.
Brightling said there was “an urgent need for health care services to support this large and rapidly increasing patient population.” Even a year after leaving the hospital, many long-term COVID sufferers show severe symptoms, including “reduced exercise capacity and large declines in health-related quality of life,” the authors wrote.