​ ​ ​ ​

40 percent of those who have recovered from COVID-19 suffer from long covid symptoms

With around 46 percent, women in the study were slightly more likely to suffer from long-term effects of a SARS-CoV-2 infection than men. | © perfectlab - stock.adobe.com

​ ​

Not much is known about Long Covid. A new study by the Mainz University Medical Center shows that around 40 per cent struggle with health problems for a long time after a corona infection. Almost 30 per cent complained that they had not returned to their original performance after the illness. Women were slightly more likely to suffer from long-term effects than men; age hardly played a role.

​ ​

Fatigue, tiredness, memory and sleep disorders, and shortness of breath were among the symptoms the study participants mentioned having at least six months after surviving the illness.

For the Gutenberg COVID-19 study, PCR and antibody tests were used to determine whether over 10,000 people between 25 and 88 had been infected with the coronavirus. That was the case with around 500. The Mainz researchers, headed by study leader Prof. Philipp Wild, who is also a principal investigator at the DZHK, checked them and a control group to see whether they had symptoms that, according to the WHO, can occur with Long Covid. There is currently no clear definition of Long Covid. It was noticeable that people with severe courses are affected and those who have recovered, who had only mild or no symptoms during the acute infection. Specific symptoms such as odour and taste disorders were more likely to occur in people who knew about their infection. Women (46 per cent) were slightly more likely to be affected by the long-term effects of a SARS-CoV-2 infection than men (around 35 per cent).

Another finding was that more than a third of those who recovered didn't even know they had gone through the disease. On the one hand, this means that there are very mild courses. On the other hand, many other people can become infected without noticing.

In a further study, Prof. Wild and his team are now researching how late and long-term consequences of a covid infection can be prevented and treated. They want to determine whether there are unique risk factors, whether people who have gone through the infection unnoticed are also affected and what influence the vaccination has on Long Covid. "With the new study, we are pursuing the goal of being able to characterize and define the clinical picture based on evidence. This includes, for example, affected organs," says Philipp Wild. The Mainz researchers are also targeting molecular patterns and biomarkers, i.e. biological features that indicate pathological changes, to understand the disease better and thus better treat it.


About the Gutenberg COVID-19 study

The aim of the Gutenberg COVID-19 study, which started in October 2020, is to analyze the effects of the corona pandemic on the physical and mental health of the population. More than 10,000 people between the ages of 25 and 88 from the Rheinhessen region provide the study with health data, answer questions about their attitudes and behaviour, and get tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Further information on the study: www.gutenberg-covid19.de

Scientific contact: Prof. Philipp Wild, Head of Preventive Cardiology and Medical Prevention and Coordinator Gutenberg Health Study, philipp.wild (at) unimedizin-mainz.de

Source: Press release from the Mainz University Medical Center