Long Covid Meta Analysis, Jan 2023

A massive review of what we currently know about #LongCovid has been published today. Below are the highlights that jumped out at me, you can read the whole thing at nature.com.

The incidence of Long Covid is estimated at 10–30% of non-hospitalized cases, 50–70% of hospitalized cases and 10–12% of vaccinated cases. There are likely to be 65 million Long Covid sufferers, worldwide.

Shortness of breath and cough are the most common respiratory symptoms, and persisted for at least 7 months in 40% and 20% of patients with long COVID, respectively.

Few people with Long COVID demonstrate full recovery, with one study finding that 85% of patients who had symptoms 2 months after the initial infection reported symptoms 1 year after symptom onset. Future prognosis is uncertain, although diagnoses of ME/CFS and dysautonomia are generally lifelong. 7.1% of Covid infection survivors, in one study, met the criteria for ME/CFS diagnosis. Around half of individuals with long COVID are estimated to meet the criteria for ME/CFS. Several neurocognitive symptoms worsen over time and tend to persist longer, whereas gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms are more likely to resolve.

Treatment of acute COVID-19 with Paxlovid showed a 25% reduction in the incidence of long COVID.

70% of Covid patients had damage to at least one organ and 29% had multiorgan damage.

Fatigue was found in 32% and cognitive impairment was found in 22% of patients with COVID-19 at 12 weeks after infection.

Neurological symptoms often have a delayed onset of weeks to months: among participants with cognitive symptoms, 43% reported a delayed onset of cognitive symptoms at least 1 month after infection.

Cognitive impairments in Long COVID are debilitating, at the same magnitude as intoxication at the UK drink driving limit or 10 years of cognitive ageing, and may increase over time, with one study finding occurrence in 16% of patients at 2 months after infection and 26% of patients at 12 months after infection. It occurs at similar rates in hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients.

Viral persistence in the penile tissue has been documented, as has an increased risk of erectile dysfunction. Impairments to sperm count, semen volume, motility, sperm morphology and sperm concentration were reported in individuals with Long COVID.

There is a lot of nuance to this topic, I have just cherry-picked some interesting fragments. The full report is worth your time: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00846-2.epdf