Women and hospitalised patients more prone to long Covid, study finds


Women and people who needed to be hospitalized with Covid are much more likely to develop long Covid, according to a new peer-reviewed study published in JAMA on Monday, offering new insight into the persistent and sometimes disabling condition as researchers push to develop new treatments and cures.

Sick person holding sign at a protest.
Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Among the Covid survivors who developed persistent symptoms, the researchers estimate that 15% continued to have symptoms 12 months after infection. It is not known why or how some people experience symptoms for longer periods and others do not. The researchers said only time and further research will reveal how long symptoms persist in some people.

There have been more than 96.4 million Covid cases in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, according to CDC data. More than a million people have died with Covid in this time and a good proportion of these cases are likely to be repeat infections.

Though not all will have been symptomatic infections—which was the study’s focus—and many more cases have likely gone unreported, the study’s 6% prevalence means an estimated 5.8 million people experienced long Covid in the U.S. Around 870,000 would have had symptoms persisting for a year.

Despite appearing to be relatively common after infection, long Covid remains poorly understood several years into the coronavirus pandemic. Its underlying causes are not known—leading theories include issues with the immune system, the virus lingering in the body after initial infection and problems with blood clotting—there are no proven treatments and its precise prevalence is unclear.

The condition appears to be similar to syndromes like chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), which have been neglected for years but are now receiving renewed attention owing to the similarities. Though it emerged as a clear problem fairly early on in the pandemic, as well as imposing a huge human and economic burden, long Covid has received relatively little attention compared to other aspects of the global outbreak and particularly when developing public health policy to contain the virus.

This article was first published on forbes.com

Billionaire-Backed Group Steps Up Hunt For Long Covid Treatment (Forbes)

Long COVID Has Forced a Reckoning for One of Medicine’s Most Neglected Diseases (The Atlantic)