People infected with Omicron variant less likely to get long COVID-19 in comparison to Delta: Study

Edited By: Vyomica Berry
London, United Kingdom Updated: Jun 17, 2022, 03:49 PM(IST)

People walk along a platform at Kings Cross train station during morning rush hour, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain Photograph:( Reuters )

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Using data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app, researchers at King's College London found that the odds of developing long COVID after infection were 20 per cent to 50 per cent lower during the Omicron wave in the UK compared to Delta

The first peer-reviewed study of its kind from the United Kingdom has found that the Omicron variant of coronavirus is less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants.

Using data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app, researchers at King's College London found that the odds of developing long COVID after infection were 20 per cent to 50 per cent lower during the Omicron wave in the UK compared to Delta.

Depending on the patient's age, the figures varied according to the timing of their last vaccination.

With researchers racing to find out if Omicron presents as big a risk of long COVID as previously dominant variants, long COVID-19 is increasingly being recognised as a public health problem.

The team has said long COVID-19 includes prolonged symptoms ranging from fatigue to 'brain fog' and while Omicron does not present as great a risk of long COVID, that does not mean long COVID patient numbers are dropping.

Appealing to health-service providers, lead researcher Dr Claire Steves told Reuters "It's good news, but please don't decommission any of your long COVID services."

Representing 24 per cent of all long COVID patients, the UK's Office for National Statistics said in May that 438,000 people in the country have long COVID after Omicron infection.

The study, published in The Lancet journal, the risk of lingering symptoms after Omicron was lower than with Delta, but only for double-vaccinated people.

Titled 'Risk of long COVID associated with Delta versus Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2', the study found no statistical difference for those who were triple vaccinated.

The study compared 4.5 per cent of the 56,003 people studied during Omicron's peak to 10.8 per cent of 41,361 people during the Delta wave and showed no substantial difference in long COVID risk between other variants.

(With inputs from agencies)

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