Around 5% of people who have caught Omicron COVID-19 infection experienced fatigue, brain fog, headaches, heart problems and breathlessness even after a month of infection. The study finds that the omicron variant is less likely to cause long COVID-19 symptoms as compared to delta variant. Some of the researchers found the results reassuring but other researchers concluded that findings are alarming. This study conducted by King’s College London, was published in ‘The Lancet’ on thursday.
What Did Researchers Find?
Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, an immunobiologist at Yale School of Medicine who studies long COVID , said that the results are scary. He said that people assume since omicron is milder, let’s just get infected with it and get over it, but that does not happen. Omicron has Long COVID-19 symptoms that remain with the patients longer than infection. In some people, the effect of COVID was observed for over 2-3 months.
In the study, thousands of people were observed who were tested positive with Coronavirus infection. It was mentioned that the risk of long COVID increased in different variants.
Are Long COVID Symptoms Equally Common in Delta and Omicron Variants?
Dr. Claire Steves, who was part of the team conducting the research said 56,003 people caught omicron from 20th December, 2021 to 9th March 2022 and 41,361 people caught delta between 1st June, 2021 and 27th November 2021 were taken into consideration. This was done through the help of a special app which was used to monitor symptoms of COVID-19.
Patients suffering from Omicron were half less likely to get Long COVID symptoms compared to those who got infected with Delta. This was observed months after contracting the infection. Dr. Steves told NPR in an interview that risk of getting long COVID is substantially lesser as with Delta variant infected patients.
Is it Good or Bad?
Having Long-COVID symptoms is never good, but since the risk of transmission of Omicron is extremely high, therefore it is still better, said Steves in the interview. If the risk of Long covid in omicron patients would have been greater, then people ending with symptoms would have been a lot more. But reduced risk of the Delta variant does not mean that you should not worry about long COVID symptoms. The chance of getting infected with omicron after symptoms is 4.4% and 10.8% in the Delta variant, as explained in this study.
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