Covid survivors are still at risk, scientists say!

Health Tamalika Basu
covid survivors
Photo : Dreamstime

It’s almost 1.5 years now that mankind has been attacked by the novel coronavirus. But we haven’t been able to know everything about this SARS-CoV-2 virus. The disease that started out as a type of pneumonia type, has now proved to be a multi-organ killer. Numerous studies are being conducted for treatment and cure. Also, many studies are being done on the covid survivors to understand the extent of the threat of the virus. Currently, a team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine conducted research on the covid survivors. This is believed to be the largest comprehensive study of long COVID19 to date. Their findings recently got published in the reputed journal, Nature.

How this study on covid survivors was conducted?

This study involves more than 87,000 COVID19 patients and nearly 5 million control patients. After surviving the infection, excess cases of deaths are being reported in the following six months. It was observed that per 1000 COVID19 survivors, 8 were reported dead. For the patients who were hospitalized and survived the first 30 days, this number was 29. The researchers found that the risk of death over the following six months increases by 60% amongst the survivors. Data of 73,435 confirmed COVID19 patients were used from the Department of Veterans Affairs. At the same time data of 5 million veteran patients who were not diagnosed with COVID19 were compared. Also, a separate analysis with 13,654 hospitalized COVID19 patients and 13,997 patients with seasonal flu was done.

What did the scientists find?

Scientist Al-Aly, associated with the study said, “The later deaths were not counted as deaths due to COVID19. But this significant number of deaths suggests that the deaths due to long-term complications are also associated with COVID19. As far as the total pandemic death toll, the immediate deaths are only the tip of the iceberg.” The scientists found that the long COVID19 can affect nearly every organ system in the body.

Studying the survivors for the following six months, researchers found the following affected systems:

  • Respiratory system: shortness of breath, low oxygen levels in the blood.
  • Nervous system: headaches, stroke, memory problem, problems with taste and smell.
  • Cardiovascular system: heart failure, irregular heart rhythms, acute coronary disease
  • Gastrointestinal system: constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux
  • Musculoskeletal system: joint pain, muscle weakness

With these also the kidney and skin get heavily affected. Long COVID19 perturbates the metabolism completely. It also causes anxiety, psychosis, and sleep problems.

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