Long Covid comes in ‘three different forms’ that ‘can be found in all variants’

Long Covid

Long Covid

There are three different types long Covid and each has its own list of symptoms, scientists claimed to have found.

The condition has long been difficult to define for clinicians due to a wide variety of symptoms, and recent work claims that there are more than 60 different manifestations of the disease, including hair loss and loss of libido.

Now, a pre-print from academics from King’s College London, using ZOE Covid tracker app data, shows there are three different forms of the disease, also known as post-Covid syndrome.

In the paper, the scientists say future research into long-term Covid “should consider dividing affected individuals into different subgroups” as this could help researchers unravel how the mysterious condition works and affects patients.

Researchers examined 1,459 people living with long Coviddefined by the study authors as symptoms of at least 84 days after infection.

The study claims there is a neurological arm of long Covida respiratory branch and the third form is a wide range of more serious and comprehensive symptoms.

Those with neurological symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, and headaches – are most common in those who became infected when the most dominant strains were alpha and deltathe waves that hit in Christmas 2020 and then in the spring of 2021.

A second group experienced respiratory symptoms, including chest pain, lung problems and shortness of breath. This was more often found in those infected during the first wave of the virus in the spring of 2020, when people had not been vaccinated.

Personalized diagnosis

The latter group’s symptoms include palpitations, muscle aches and pains, changes in skin and hair, as well as “debilitating multi-organ symptoms,” King’s College said.

But researchers said these three subtypes were evident in all variants, but were unable to determine a risk rate for each variant.

Lead clinical author Dr. Claire Steves, from King’s College London, said: “These data clearly show that post covid syndrome is not just one condition, but appears to have several subtypes.

“Understanding the root causes of these subtypes can help find treatment strategies.

“In addition, this data highlights the need for long-term Covid services to integrate a personalized approach sensitive to each individual’s problems.”

First author Dr. Liane Canas, from King’s College London, added: “This is the first study looking at subgroups of patients with specific post-Covid profiles and the effect of vaccination, prior to infection, on symptom profile.

“Given the time series component, our study is relevant to the prognosis after Covid, which indicates how long certain symptoms can last. These insights can help develop personalized diagnosis and treatment for these individuals.”

Research published last week from the University of Birmingham showed the long list of Covid symptoms is now at 62.

Loss of smell, shortness of breath and chest pain were the most common symptoms in the study, along with amnesia, an inability to perform familiar movements and hallucinations.

The researchers also calculated that those with Covid were 6.5 times more likely to have anosmia (loss of smell) 12 weeks after contracting the virus than those who were not infected.

The risk was four times greater for hair loss, 2.6 times for ejaculation problems, 2.4 times for low libido and 1.8 times for a hoarse voice.

This study also found the trend for people to fall into one of three different categories: long Covidand identifying where a patient is sitting could potentially aid treatment.

“This research confirms what patients have been telling clinicians and policymakers during the pandemic – that the symptoms of long-term Covid are extremely broad and cannot be fully explained by other factors such as lifestyle risk factors or chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Shamil Haroon, an associate clinical professor of public health at the University of Birmingham and lead author of the 62 symptoms study.

“The symptoms we identified should help clinicians and developers of clinical guidelines improve the assessment of patients with long-term effects and consider how best to manage this symptom burden.”

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