Risk of long COVID is lower with Omicron compared to Delta variant, coronavirus study suggests | UK News
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is less likely to cause a long COVID than the Delta strain, new research suggests.
The study, conducted by King’s College London, found that the likelihood of suffering for a long time increases COVID were between 20% and 50% lower for Omicron compared to the Delta variant, depending on age and time since vaccination.
The researchers used data from the Zoe-COVID Symptoms Study and lead author Dr. Claire Steves said: “The Omicron variant appears to cause COVID for much less time than previous variants, but still one in 23 people who contract COVID-19 has symptoms for more than four weeks.
“Given the number of people affected it is important that we continue to support them at work, at home and within the NHS.”
Analysis showed that 4.4% of Omicron cases were long COVID, but more than double (10.8%) of Delta cases showed signs of long COVID.
However, the number of people long ill with COVID was higher during the Omicron period as the number of infections with the variant was high during its peak in the UK between December 2021 and February 2022.
The Office of National Statistics estimates the number of people with long-term COVID-19 has increased from 1.3 million in January 2022 2 million from May 1st.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) defines long COVID as new or persistent symptoms four weeks or more after initial infection.
Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of concentration, and joint pain or impaired daily activities, which can be severely disabling for some people.
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The study, published in a letter to The Lancet, identified 56,003 adults in the UK who tested positive between December 20, 2021 and March 9, 2022, when Omicron was dominant.
The researchers compared these to 41,361 cases that first tested positive between June 1 and November 27, 2021, when Delta was dominant.