The Omicron variant coronavirus is less likely to cause long covid than the Delta strain, new research suggests.
The study found that the odds of staying ill with Covid for a long time were between 20% and 50% lower during the Omicron period than during the Delta period, depending on a person’s age and time since vaccination.
The analysis was conducted by researchers from King’s College London using data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Study.
The lead author Dr. Claire Steves, of King’s College London, said: “The Omicron variant appears significantly less likely to cause long-term Covid 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 in the NHS.”
Long Covid is defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines as new or persistent symptoms four weeks or more after the onset of the disease.
Symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of concentration and joint pain. For some people, the condition can be severely disabling, affecting their ability to perform everyday activities.
The study identified 56,003 adults in the UK who tested positive between December 20 last year and March 9 this year, when Omicron was the dominant strain.
The researchers compared these to 41,361 cases that first tested positive between June 1 and November 27 last year, when the delta was the dominant variant.
The new study, published in a letter to The Lancet, showed that 4.4% of Omicron cases were affected by long Covid, compared to 10.8% of Delta cases.
However, the number of people who had been ill with Covid for a long time was higher during the Omicron period, as a large number of people became infected with the variant from December 2021 to February 2022.
The Office for National Statistics estimates the number of people with long Covid rose to 2 million as of May 1 from 1.3 million in January.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/17/risk-of-long-covid-lower-from-omicron-compared-to-delta-variant-16844499/ Risk of long covid lower by Omicron compared to Delta variant