January 27, 2023 — Nearly 36% of George Washington University students and faculty with a history of COVID-19 reported long-lasting COVID-consistent symptoms in a new study.
With a median age of 23 years, this study evaluated mostly healthy young adults and is unique in that it rarely sees long-term COVID in the university community.
Researchers have found that the more symptoms you have during a COVID attack, the higher your risk of prolonging COVID. It is consistent with previous studies. And the more vaccinations and booster shots against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, the lower the long-term risk of COVID.
Women were more likely to be affected than men. Current or previous smoking, COVID treatment, and antibody therapy were also associated with a higher likelihood of developing COVID over time.
First author Megan Landry, DrPH, MPH, and colleagues had previously evaluated students, staff, and faculty at George Washington University in Washington, DC, who had tested positive for COVID. Then, after a 10-day isolation period, symptoms began to persist for more than 28 days.
“We were beginning to realize that individuals… were having symptoms for longer than the typical isolation period,” says Landry. , and created a survey to figure out how many people are affected by them.
The list of potential symptoms was long and included thought disturbances, fatigue, loss of smell or taste, and shortness of breath.
of The study was published online Thursday at the CDC emerging infectious disease journal. Results are based on 1,388 student, faculty and staff records and responses from July 2021 to March 2022.
People experienced a median of four prolonged COVID symptoms, approximately 63% were female and 56% were non-Hispanic white. About three quarters were students and the rest were faculty.
The finding that 36% of people with a history of COVID reported prolonged COVID symptoms didn’t surprise Landry.
“Based on the current literature, the prevalence of COVID over time ranges from 10% to 80%,” she says. “I thought we were going to fall off somewhere.”
By contrast, that figure seemed high to Eric Topol, MD, Editor-in-ChiefMedscape is WebMD’s sister site for medical professionals.
“That’s really expensive,” says Topol, who is also the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. Topol said most studies estimate that about 10% of people with a history of acute infections develop long-term COVID.
10% may be an underestimation, but it affects many people around the world.
“Based on the conservative incidence estimate of 10% of those infected and the over 651 million recorded COVID-19 cases worldwide, at least 65 million people worldwide have long-term COVID-19. -19 have been infected, and the number is likely much higher, as there are many undocumented cases,” Topol and colleagues write. Long COVID review article Published earlier this month nature review microbiology.
Topol agrees that this study is unique in evaluating young adults. Long his COVID is far more common in people in their middle-aged, 30s and 40s than students, he says.
Approximately 30% of study participants were fully vaccinated with the first series of vaccines, 42% received boosters, and 29% were fully vaccinated at the time of their first positive test for COVID. I didn’t receive it. A fully unvaccinated person was significantly more likely to report symptoms of her COVID that lasted longer.
“I know many people want to put COVID on the back burner or under the rug, but COVID is still real. We need to make sure we are kept in good condition, not only for COVID, but also for the flu.”
“The novel coronavirus is still evolving, and we are learning more about it every day,” says Landry. “It’s very new and there are still a lot of unknowns. That’s why it’s important to get this information out there.”
People who have been infected with COVID-19 for longer are more likely to have difficulty performing professional, educational, social, or personal activities than they were before COVID-19, and the impact could be 6 The authors point out that it can last for months or more.
“Overall, I think universities generally need to consider the possibility that people on campus are exhibiting long-lasting COVID symptoms,” Landry says.
Looking ahead, Landry and colleagues hope to continue their long-term COVID research. For example, the current study did not ask about the severity of symptoms or how the symptoms affected daily life.
“I would like to continue this by delving deeper into how COVID symptoms impact daily studies, education, or activities to keep universities running,” says Landry.
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