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COVID-19 patients still have symptoms 6 months after —Report

*Study findings indicate that six months later, 76 percent had at least a symptom, including fatigue or muscle weakness (seen in 63 percent), sleep difficulties and anxiety, or depression

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

Findings from a study in Wuhan, China, where the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first emerged in late 2019 have revealed that most patients hospitalised with COVID-19 have at least a symptom six months after falling ill.

The study showed that doctors tracked 1,733 patients who were diagnosed and hospitalised between January and May 2020.

Six months later, 76% had at least one symptom, including fatigue or muscle weakness (seen in 63%), sleep difficulties and anxiety, or depression.

Most of those who had been severely ill had ongoing lung problems and chest abnormalities that could indicate organ damage, while 13% of patients whose kidneys functioned normally in the hospital went on to develop kidney problems later.

The researchers, who reported in The Lancet, stated: “We are only beginning to understand” some of the long-term effects of COVID-19, study coauthor Bin Cao from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing said in a statement.

“Our analysis indicates that most patients continue to live with at least some of the effects of the virus after leaving the hospital,” highlighting the need for post-discharge care. Saliva viral load improves prediction of COVID-19 severity.

The amount of the new coronavirus in saliva might help guide doctors’ care of patients because it is a better predictor of disease course than viral load in swab samples obtained from the nose and the back of the throat, researchers said.

They studied 26 mildly ill COVID-19 patients, 154 hospitalised patients – including 63 who became critically ill and 23 who eventually died – and 108 uninfected individuals. Saliva viral load, but not nasopharyngeal viral load, was linked with COVID-19 risk factors like age and gender, and with immune system responses.

Saliva viral load was also superior to nasopharyngeal viral load at predicting critical illness and death.

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