A new study suggests that two in five people with COVID-19 go on to have symptoms of long COVID 7–9 months after diagnosis

COVID virus visualisation two tone

Two in five people with COVID-19 go on to have symptoms of long COVID at least 7 months after infection, suggest the findings of a study by researchers in Switzerland.

The study assessed participants at an initial outpatient consultation over the first 10 days following diagnosis, a second follow up 30–45 days after infection, and a third 7–9 months after infection. Patients requiring hospitalisation were not included.

Of 629 participants, 410 completed follow up, and 39% of them reported symptoms 7–9 months after diagnosis.

Fatigue (20.7%) was the most common symptom, followed by loss of taste or smell (16.8%), shortness of breath (11.7%), and headaches (10%).

The intensity and severity of symptoms decrease over time. The remission rate at 7–9 months was 56% of cases.

Study director, Professor Idris Guessous, Head of the Division of Primary Care Medicine and consultant epidemiologist at the University of Geneva, pointed out the human impact of these symptoms.

‘People who were in optimal shape before their infection are clearly no longer in such a shape afterwards. This feeling of no longer being able to perform at maximal or usual capacity, added to the feeling of discouragement caused by a slow progress, are particularly difficult to endure,’ he said.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.