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Reduced long COVID risk with Omicron

Friday June 17th 2022

Individuals contracting the Omicron variant are less likely to develop long COVID than those who had the Delta variant, new analysis published last night has found.

Using data from the Zoe COVID app, researchers from King’s College London, UK, say the odds of experiencing long COVID were between 20% and 50% less during the Omicron period compared to the Delta period, depending on age and time since vaccination.

Their findings are published in a letter in today’s edition of The Lancet.

The study identified 56,003 UK adult cases who first tested positive between December 20, 2021, and March 9, 2022, when Omicron was the dominant strain.

The team compared these cases to 41,361 cases who first tested positive between June 1, 2021, and November 27, 2021, when the Delta variant was dominant.

The analysis shows that 4.4% Omicron cases resulted in long COVID compared to 10.8% of Delta cases. However, the absolute number of people experiencing long COVID was higher in the Omicron period because of the vast numbers of people infected with Omicron from December 2021 to February 2022.

The UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimated the numbers of people with long COVID rose from 1.3 million in January 2022 to 2 million at 1 May 2022.

Lead author Dr Claire Steves, of King’s College London, said: “The Omicron variant appears substantially less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants but still 1 in 23 people who catch COVID-19 go on to have symptoms for more than four weeks. Given the numbers of people affected it’s important that we continue to support them at work, at home and within the NHS.”

Risk of long COVID associated with delta versus omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2 Lancet 18 June 2022

[abstract]

Tags: Flu & Viruses | UK News

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