COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. As of June 20, 2022, more than 6.3 million people died from the contagious disease and nearly 536 million people worldwide have died.
Researchers are slowly developing COVID-19 symptoms, including those that persist within the body, now known as long COVID.
Long COVID symptoms include fatigue, loss of smell, hearing loss, muscle fatigue, brain fog, and memory loss. Recent research has revealed that some patients had memory and memory loss for at least half a year.
People who developed SARS-CoV-2 infections with the Omicron strain were less likely to have long COVID symptoms than those who had the Delta variant, according to a new study from Kings College London.
The Lancet Journal is a publication of this research.
Delta vs. Omicron
SARS-CoV-2 has mutated and changed throughout the pandemic. As a result, many variations have erupted.
The first SARS-CoV-2 variant was Alpha, followed by the Beta and Gamma variants.
The Delta variant became the primary form of the pandemic in April 2021. Researchers determined it to be 40-60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.
Omicron, the most common SARS-CoV-2 variant, is currently present. Researchers have found that Omicron spreads less easily, but it tends to cause milder symptoms than previously.
Reduced long COVID symptoms
Dr. Claire Steves, a reader at Kings College London and principal author of this study, said they wanted to know if the likelihood of having long COVID was similar to Delta.
We had already seen that for Delta and Alpha the probability was not significant different from the initial strain, therefore we wanted to see if Omicron was still the case, according to Medical News Today.
Due to three reasons, Dr. Steves said that this was of particular concern.
- With such a large number of people affected by Omicron, any difference would have a big impact on the numbers of people affected.
- Researchers found that early in the onset of the disease, the severity of symptoms was less and more people were asymptomatic.
- They also observed less
anosmiaa loss of smellin Omicron infections, which has been very commonly reported as a symptom of long COVID.
Dr. Steves and her team analyzed data from around 56,000 adult coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom from December 2021 to March 2022, when Omicron was the predominant strain.
Between June and November 2021, researchers compared these cases to more than 41,000 COVID-19 instances, when Delta was the dominant strain.
Those findings suggest that 3.4 percent of Omicron cases experienced long COVID symptoms, compared to 8.8% of Delta variant cases. They deduced that a person''s probability of contracting long COVID symptoms decreased during the time when Omicron was dominant, compared to when Delta was the predominant variant.
Because we know that long COVID is the severity of early disease, both for individuals who are hospitalized, and even in the community, where the number of symptoms in the first week related to the risk of long COVID in early work, Dr. Steves explained.
Omicron appears to be reducing the deep lung tissue less than Delta, therefore this may be a factor. That''s why Omicron has decreased lung scarring.
Despite the fact that Dr. Steves and her team found that the absolute number of people with long COVID symptoms increased during the Omicron period. They attribute that finding to the greater number of people with Omicron infections owing to its high contagion rate.
Different types of long COVID?
According to Dr. Steves, her research will focus on how COVID-19 symptoms develop in the long run, and whether they can use symptoms and their evolution to identify sub-forms of long COVID.
She said she will also look at whether these (also) variations will change in relation to the variations.
MNT spoke with Dr. Jimmy Johannes, a pulmonologist and critical care medicine specialist at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center in Long Beach, California, about this research.
Patients who developed COVID-19 with the more prevalent Omicron variant had less incidence of long COVID, according to Dr. Johannes.
The Delta variant is likely to be more virulent than the Omicron variant, but it has increased rates of severe illness, worse symptoms, and hospitalizations compared to the Omicron variant, according to the author.
Given that the case definition of long COVID is only a month of symptoms, it might be that if you had less a severe disease, people might improve on average.
Dr. Johannes wishes to see the distribution of symptoms between the Delta and Omicron patient populations for the next steps in research into long COVID.
If there is a difference in the syndromes that we see between the two versions, then then, he said, this would help us figure out.