FILE PHOTO: Morning rush hour, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London
People walk along a platform at Kings Cross train station during morning rush hour, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, on Dec 1, 2021. Photo: Reuters/HENRY NICHOLLS
health

Omicron less likely to cause long COVID: UK study

12 Comments
By Jennifer Rigby

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

Researchers at King's College London, using data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app, found the odds of developing long COVID after infection were 20% to 50% lower during the Omicron wave in the UK compared to Delta. The figure varied depending on the patient's age and the timing of their last vaccination.

Long COVID, which includes prolonged symptoms ranging from fatigue to 'brain fog', can be debilitating and continue for weeks or months. It is increasingly being recognized as a public health problem, and researchers have been racing to find out if Omicron presents as big a risk of long COVID as previously dominant variants.

The study from King's is believed to be the first academic research to show Omicron does not present as great a risk of long COVID, but that does not mean long COVID patient numbers are dropping, the team said.

While the risk of long COVID was lower during Omicron, more people were infected, so the absolute number now suffering is higher.

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

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

It also said the risk of lingering symptoms after Omicron was lower than with Delta, but only for double-vaccinated people. It found no statistical difference for those who were triple vaccinated.

In the King's research, 4.5% of the 56,003 people studied during Omicron's peak, December 2021-March 2022, reported long COVID. That compared to 10.8% of 41,361 people during the Delta wave, June-November 2021. It did not compare vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

While the study – published in The Lancet journal on Thursday – compared Delta and Omicron, Dr Steves said previous work had showed no substantial difference in long COVID risk between other variants.

More work was needed to establish why Omicron may have a lower long COVID risk, the team added.

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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A lot of people over here are coming down with the Omicron variant. I myself have had long covid since early April.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Ling covid is no joke. I had lingering symptoms for around 18 months and finally feeling better.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Ling covid is no joke. I had lingering symptoms for around 18 months and finally feeling better

I think you said you caught Covid many times ( please correct me if I’m wrong ).

Did the long Covid last between each infection? Was it worse after any particular infection?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I believe so but never tested except to travel and never tested positive. Symptoms of joint pain lingered for 18 months, others such as dizziness and heart palpitations improved and worsened in waves, thankfully feel great now especially with no joint pain. I know some persons now cannot even ride the trains due to symptoms.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

For me anyways, worst symptoms came after Olympics in Tokyo.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Reckless, if you’ve never tested positive for Covid but have experienced symptoms that would give anybody cause for concern, you should talk to your doctor.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Gee took them long enough to admit that….

what about long Covid caused by the Vaccines?? I wounder if they’ll ever have the courage to admit that?

I have three friends and workmates still affected after vaccination 6-8 months later…

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Gee took them long enough to admit that….

Nothing to "admit" but to find out, for people that systematically reject science it is sometimes difficult to imagine that everything that is said must be supported by evidence, but that is what makes science so useful.

what about long Covid caused by the Vaccines?? I wounder if they’ll ever have the courage to admit that?

What data do you have to support this? how does it compares with the well characterized syndrome after the infection? One thing is for you to personally believe something, another very different is for that thing to actually be something that the scientific evidence.

And no, a N=3 uncontrolled empirical study without any information is not enough to prove it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

RecklessJune 19  12:23 pm JST

I believe so but never tested except to travel and never tested positive. Symptoms of joint pain lingered for 18 months, others such as dizziness and heart palpitations improved and worsened in waves, thankfully feel great now especially with no joint pain. I know some persons now cannot even ride the trains due to symptoms.

I know a few people who got CoVid once or twice and survived, and the vaccines help. But we still don't know the long aftereffects of it. And they can be everlasting. My own mother caught the hepatitis B when there was an outbreak in the 50s and she has aftereffects from it.

Another thing to note. Bon Jovi has been touring again and while Jon Bon Jovi got vaccinated, he caught CoVid and survived. But critics who love and hate the band have been worried because his singing voice has been seriously altered, badly. Something is wrong, and many feel that it's a long Covid effect. I saw them 5 years ago and they were fine but now, something just ain't right.

The medical workers have labored like hell all over the world to tackle this monster and we must keep up the fight because we just don't have all the answers yet.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

We don’t have many answers for the vaccine either except what is allowed…

Another friend came down with shingles recently after getting her third shot but hey obviously that’s just a coincidence because the Covid vaccines are beyond reproach…..

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Sanjinnosebleed:

You’re quite right. It is indeed just a coincidence. So glad you’re a reasonable person, and not one of those people who just try to blame the vaccines for every little thing that happens.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

BigYenJune 21  07:44 pm JST

Sanjinnosebleed:

You’re quite right. It is indeed just a coincidence. So glad you’re a reasonable person, and not one of those people who just try to blame the vaccines for every little thing that happens.

Some certain people's recent deaths have been fodder for the antivaxx liars. Colin Powell got CoVid and died from it even though he was vaccinated. But he was already in a 'high risk' group because of a bone marrow condition that weakened him already.

It's the immunity-compromised, elderly and lately children who are in the greatest danger but why take chances? Why risk becoming a carrier? Get vaxxed and take safe precautions. We're gonna beat this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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