55% of COVID-19 survivors have at least one symptom 2 years later, study finds

In what researchers are calling the longest follow-up study to date, findings published May 11 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine suggest more than half of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 still have at least one symptom two years later. 

The findings are based on an analysis of 1,192 COVID-19 patients at Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, between Jan. 7 and May 29, 2020. Researchers followed up on their health at six months, 12 months and two years. Ninety-four percent of the participants attended a face-to-face interview two years after infection. 

Follow-up assessments involved a six-minute walking test, laboratory tests, questionnaires on symptoms, mental health and health-related quality of life and healthcare use after hospital discharge. 

About 68 percent of 1,149 participants who attended follow-ups six months after acute infection reported at least one symptom. At two years, that figure was 55 percent among 1,190 who followed up at that time. 

Patients who recovered from COVID-19 were generally in poorer health during follow ups, with a higher proportion more likely to report a number of symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain and headaches compared to the general population. 

Researchers said their findings suggest more than two years is needed to fully recover for some hospitalized patients. 

"There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who've had COVID-19, and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments and variants affect long-term health outcomes," said Bin Cao, MD, lead study author and vice director of the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Diseases at China-Japan Friendship Hospital.

To view the full study, click here

 

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