Swiss scientists found that the risk of a healthy and vaccinated patient developing the long covid – symptoms that remain for at least 3 months after the acute phase of the disease – is significantly lower after an infection caused by the Omicron variant than other strains of the virus. Mutations of the strain itself and vaccination against covid-19 are among the factors that justify the lower probability.
To reach this conclusion, researchers from the Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, Switzerland, analyzed data from 1,200 health professionals, with an average age of 43 years. Most volunteers (81%) were women. Those infected with older variants or Omicron were followed, on average, from June 2020 to June 2022.
So far, the study on the risk of long-term covid after Omicron has not been published in any scientific journal. The complete research will be presented, for the first time, during the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (Eccmid) this year, which will take place in Copenhagen, during the 15th and 18th of April.
How do covid-19 variants impact the risk of sequelae?
Analyzing the data collected, scientists identified that the 157 individuals who had covid-19 at the beginning of the study (2020) had a 67% greater risk of developing long-lasting covid than healthy health professionals. In the same period, the risk for prolonged cases of fatigue was 45%. On the other hand, the 429 people infected by the Omicron variant (2021 or 2022) had a statistically low risk of developing long-term Covid or chronic fatigue.
Despite the very promising result, caution must be exercised in the analyses. “Participants in our study were mainly healthy, young and vaccinated women. The results may be different in a sicker, older and/or unvaccinated population”, adds Strahm.
What do we know about the causes of long covid?
“Long Covid is a serious public health issue and is sometimes debilitating. [para o paciente]”, says Carol Strahm, one of the authors of the study, in a statement. ′′ However, most of the data we have are from individuals who contracted covid-19 relatively early in the pandemic, before the appearance of the Omicron variant in late 2021 ” , he adds. At that time, vaccines were still in development.
Considering the initial patients of the long covid, the most common symptoms identified in the survey were:
Source: Eccmid and EurekAlert
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