Those Infected With Omicron Are Less Likely to Have Long COVID: Lancet

Researchers in the UK compared the risk of long COVID among Delta patients to that of Omicron infections.

2 min read

Omicron and its subvariants are less likely to lead to long COVID, finds a study published in the medical journal Lancet.

Researchers at King's College London compared the instances of long COVID during the Delta wave to that of the Omicron wave in London, and found that patients who were infected in the Omicron wave had a 20 percent to 50 percent lower chance of developing long COVID, reported Reuters.

Long COVID is an umbrella term used to describe a slew of symptoms that linger on after a COVID infection. This can range from mild breathlessness, and brain fog, to chronic fatigue and heart issues.

Omicron and Long COVID: What the Study Found

The peer-reviewed study conducted by the researchers in the UK is the first of its kind to compare the risk of long COVID between different variants.

The study uses data from a COVID Symptom study app, called ZOE COVID.

The study involved 56,003 UK adults who were infected between Dec 20, 2021, and March 9, 2022.

This time period was specifically chosen because at this time, over 70 percent of the positive cases were of Omicron.

They compared long COVID in these patients to that of patients who were infected with the Delta variant.

For this, they used 41,361 patients who first tested positive between June 1, 2021, and Nov 27, 2021 — a time when over 70 percent of the cases were that of Delta.

  • Both groups had an average age of 53.

  • Both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases were included in the study.

  • Around 19 percent of the participants had comorbidities.

The study found, 2501 (4·5 percent) of 56,003 participants infected with Omicron experienced long COVID, while 4469 (10·8 percent) of 41,361 patients infected with Delta variant experienced long COVID symptoms.

"The absolute number of people experiencing long COVID at a given time depends on the shape and amplitude of the pandemic curve."
The study authors

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