76% of COVID-19 patients still have symptoms six months after infection

76% of COVID-19 patients still have symptoms six months after infection

According to a new study published in the Lancet that has involved hundreds of patients in the Chinese city of Wuhan, more than three-quarters of people hospitalized with COVID-19 still suffered from at least one symptom after six months .

This highlights the need for more research on the lingering effects of the coronavirus.

At least one symptom

The World Health Organization has noted that the virus poses a risk to some people for ongoing serious effects, even among young, otherwise healthy people who were not hospitalized.

The new study included 1,733 COVID-19 patients discharged from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan between January and May last year.

The patients, who averaged 57 years old, were visited between June and September and answered questions about their symptoms and health-related quality of life. The researchers also performed physical exams and laboratory tests.

The study thus found that fatigue or muscle weakness were the most common symptoms, while people also reported having difficulty sleeping. As lead author Bin Cao of the National Center for Respiratory Medicine explains:

Because COVID-19 is such a new disease, we are just beginning to understand some of its long-term effects on patient health. Our work also underscores the importance of conducting longer follow-up studies in larger populations to understand the full spectrum of effects that COVID-19 can have on people.

The study also looked at 94 patients whose blood antibody levels were recorded at the peak of infection as part of another trial. When these patients were retested after six months, their neutralizing antibody levels were 52.5 percent lower. This raises concerns about the possibility of reinfection by COVID-19.