(ORDO NEWS) — More than three quarters of people hospitalized with COVID-19 still suffered from at least one symptom after six months, according to a study published on Saturday, suggesting further research is needed on the lingering effects of the coronavirus, scientists say.
The study, published in the medical journal Lancet, which involved hundreds of patients from the Chinese city of Wuhan, is one of the few that traces long-term symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
The most common symptoms were found to be fatigue or muscle weakness, and people also reported trouble sleeping.
“Since COVID-19 is a new disease, we are just beginning to understand some of its long-term health implications for patients,” said author Bin Cao of the National Center for Respiratory Medicine.
According to the professor, the study highlighted the need for constant care of patients after discharge from the hospital, especially those who have had a severe infection.
“Our work also highlights the importance of conducting longer follow-up studies in larger populations to understand the full spectrum of COVID-19’s impact on humans,” he added.
The World Health Organization has said the virus poses a risk of serious ongoing consequences for some people – even among young, otherwise healthy people who have not been hospitalized.
The new study included 1,733 COVID-19 patients discharged from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan between January and May last year.
Patients, whose average age was 57, were visited between June and September and were asked questions about their symptoms and health.
The researchers also performed medical examinations and laboratory tests.
76 percent of the follow-up patients (1,265 of 1,655) said they still have symptoms.
Fatigue or muscle weakness was reported by 63 percent, and 26 percent had trouble sleeping.
In a commentary on an article also published in The Lancet, Monica Cortinovis, Norberto Perico and Giuseppe Remuzzi of Italy’s Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS stated that there is uncertainty about the long-term health effects of the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, there are few reports of the clinical picture of the consequences of COVID-19,” they said, adding that the latest study was “relevant and timely.”
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