According to the CDC, "long COVID", also known as post-COVID conditions (PCC), refers to the prolonged (more than 12 weeks) effects that patients experience as a result of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Over 7 percent of all U.S. adults are currently experiencing symptoms of long COVID, according to Census Bureau data. Despite widespread suffering from this condition, effective treatments have yet to be discovered and implemented.
In a new preprint study published on MedRxiv, scientists from King's College in London analyzed the experiences of 1,459 people with post-COVID syndrome across the U.K. and identified three different kinds of long COVID, all with their own unique set of symptoms.
Researchers assessed the symptom population per variant (wild, alpha, delta) and per population (vaccinated vs unvaccinated) in individuals with PCS illness. For individuals infected with wild-type variant, researchers only considered twenty symptoms, for both alpha and delta variants they considered all thirty-four symptoms available.
Three Groups of Patients
Researchers were able to place patients into three main "symptom profiles":
1st group: PCS, aka long COVID patients, who suffered from cardiorespiratory symptoms.
Cardiorespiratory symptoms included: exertional intolerance and dyspnoea, fatigue, autonomic dysfunction, tachycardia or palpitations, lung radiological abnormalities including fibrosis, and chest pain.
2nd group: patients who experienced neurological symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, poor memory and headaches, especially those that had been infected with the alpha or delta variants.
Neurological or neuropsychiatric symptoms included: brain fog or dizziness, poor memory or cognition, and other mental health issues including mood disorders, headache, central sensitization, paresthesia, autonomic dysfunction, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain or myalgias.
3rd group: patients who had an immune-related response.
Persistent general autoimmune activation and proinflammatory state symptoms included: multi-organ mild sequelae, gastrointestinal symptoms, dermatological symptoms, and/or fever.
These findings offer insight into the complexities of the virus and its impact on specific subgroups of individuals at risk of prolonged debilitation.
These insights could aid in the development of personalized diagnosis and treatment, as well as assist policymakers in planning for the delivery of care for people living with post-COVID syndrome.
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