LONDON: The phenomenon known as “long COVID” could be a combination of four different syndromes affecting the body at the same time, according to a study by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
“Long COVID” refers to people suffering from recurring symptoms months after they first contracted the virus. The NIHR study said some 60,000 people could be living with “long COVID” in the UK.
Researchers say those still suffering from symptoms after seven months of infection could be under the grip of post-viral fatigue syndrome, post-intensive care syndrome, permanent organ damage and long-term COVID syndrome.
There is no evidence to suggest that children are exempt from “long COVID,” or that people who were asymptomatic or avoided serious health problems with the virus will not suffer the long-term complications. The symptoms of “long COVID” include “brain fog,” stress and anxiety.
The study’s author Dr. Elaine Maxwell said patients can experience a “rollercoaster of symptoms” that “move around the body.”
She added: “The list of symptoms is huge and covers every part of the body and brain. We believe that the term ‘long COVID’ is being used as a capsule for more than one syndrome, possibly up to four. People without a clear diagnosis told us they’re often not believed by health services.”
She said there “are people who never had any support in hospital, never had a test, have no record of ever having had COVID, except their own personal history. They may be suffering far more than somebody who was ventilated for several weeks.”
Maxwell added that the number of people with long-term COVID-19 symptoms is likely to increase amid the return of heavy hospitalizations and a “second spike” of infections.