Health & medicine

Addressing the long-term effects of Covid-19

Evidence is emerging that the health effects of Covid-19 might go far beyond the initial symptoms of infection. Research suggests survivors may face severe long-term damage to the lungs and other organs, as well as central nervous system damage and the increased incidence of blood clotting. Abi Millar finds out more.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative was simple. Either you were one of the lucky 80% who suffered from ‘mild’ Covid-19, or you were one of the 20% who required hospitalisation. The ‘mild’ cases – who ranged from totally asymptomatic to ‘very poorly but can recover at home’ – had nothing to worry about over the longer term.

Unfortunately, we have since gained an insight into another category of patient – those who struggle with symptoms on an ongoing basis. Some of these patients were hospitalised, but many weren’t. Some were older, with pre-existing conditions, but a surprising proportion were young and in good health. 

These patients have become known as ‘long-haulers’, and suffer with Covid-19 far beyond the expected two weeks. In a Facebook group for coronavirus survivors, long-haulers list 200 different symptoms ranging from fatigue (the most common) to joint pain, phantom smells, night sweats and irritability.

Read the rest of this article in the October 2020 edition of Pharma Technology Focus

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