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Long COVID 20-50% less likely after omicron than delta in vaccinated people

A long COVID patient sits with her daughter in her wheelchair while receiving a saline infusion at her Maryland home on Friday, May 27, 2022.
Enlarge / A protracted COVID affected person sits along with her daughter in her wheelchair whereas receiving a saline infusion at her Maryland residence on Friday, Could 27, 2022.

Amongst adults vaccinated towards COVID-19, the percentages of growing lengthy COVID amid the omicron wave have been about 20 % to 50 % decrease than in the course of the delta interval, with variability based mostly on age and time since vaccination.

The discovering comes from a case-control observational study printed this week in The Lancet by researchers at Kings Faculty London. The examine discovered that about 4.5 % of the omicron breakthrough circumstances resulted in lengthy COVID, whereas 10.8 % of delta breakthrough circumstances resulted within the long-term situation.

Whereas the information could appear a bit reassuring to these nursing a breakthrough omicron an infection, it is chilly consolation for public well being general for the reason that omicron coronavirus variant is rather more transmissible than delta.

“Much more individuals have been contaminated first with omicron than with delta,” Kevin McConway, an emeritus professor of utilized statistics on the Open College, mentioned in a press release. “So even when the share of contaminated individuals who acquired lengthy COVID in the course of the two waves is on the size that these researchers report—and it could be—the precise numbers of individuals reporting lengthy COVID after first being contaminated throughout omicron continues to be far bigger than throughout delta.”

For The Lancet examine, researchers examined self-reported symptom knowledge from 56,003 UK adults who have been first contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 in the course of the omicron wave and 41,361 UK adults who have been initially contaminated in the course of the delta interval.

The researchers, led by Claire Steves, a senior scientific lecturer at King’s Faculty London, outlined lengthy COVID as having new or ongoing signs 4 weeks or extra after the beginning of acute COVID-19, which is the way it’s outlined within the US Nationwide Institute for Well being and Care Excellence pointers.

Vital burden

When the researchers adjusted for age, time since vaccination, and different health-related elements, the relative odds of growing lengthy COVID after omicron ranged from round 23 % to 50 %. The chances have been finest when individuals have been nearer to vaccination (inside lower than three months) and aged 60 and older.

Odds ratio of long COVID (LC) adjusted by age, sex, body-mass index, Index of Multiple Deprivation, presence of comorbidities, and vaccination status
Enlarge / Odds ratio of lengthy COVID (LC) adjusted by age, intercourse, body-mass index, Index of A number of Deprivation, presence of comorbidities, and vaccination standing

The examine has limitations, the obvious of which is that it’s based mostly on self-reported symptom knowledge and would not dive into the severity of the lengthy COVID circumstances. There was additionally inadequate knowledge to take a look at lengthy COVID charges amongst unvaccinated individuals, and the examine didn’t embrace knowledge on charges in youngsters.

The examine was additionally completed in the course of the BA.1 wave, as David Pressure, scientific senior lecturer on the College of Exeter Medical College, famous in a press release. The next omicron subvariants, together with BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and the up-and-coming BA.4 and BA.5, could have totally different profiles relating to lengthy COVID dangers.

Nonetheless, even when the estimate of 4.5 % holds up over time, that interprets to lots of people growing lengthy COVID. This “creates a big public well being burden of this illness with no recognized remedy, and even dependable diagnostic check,” Pressure added.

Steves echoed the sentiment, saying in a press release: “The omicron variant seems considerably much less more likely to trigger long-COVID than earlier variants, however nonetheless 1 in 23 individuals who catch COVID-19 go on to have signs for greater than 4 weeks. Given the numbers of individuals affected, it is necessary that we proceed to assist them at work, at residence, and throughout the [National Health Service].”

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