Understanding Long COVID Risks with Omicron and Delta Variants
A study titled “Self-reported long COVID after infection with the Omicron variant in the UK,” published on 18 July 2022, provides valuable insights into the prevalence of long COVID among individuals infected with the Omicron and Delta variants of COVID-19.
- Prevalence of Long COVID Among Vaccinated Individuals: The study found that 4.5%, 4.2%, and 5.0% of triple-vaccinated adults reported experiencing long COVID 12 to 16 weeks after the first laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection with the Omicron BA.1, Omicron BA.2, and Delta variants, respectively. For double-vaccinated adults, 4.0% reported long COVID after infection with the Omicron BA.1 variant, compared to 9.2% for those with the Delta variant.
- Comparison Between Variants: There was no significant difference in the odds of reporting long COVID between the Omicron BA.1, Omicron BA.2, and Delta variants among triple-vaccinated individuals after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics. However, for double-vaccinated adults, the likelihood of reporting long COVID was 48.2% lower for Omicron BA.1 infections compared to Delta. This was after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, with a 41.3% lower odds for activity-limiting long COVID.
- Long COVID in Context: The findings suggest that about 4% of triple-vaccinated adults are likely to report long COVID after infection with the Omicron BA.1 or BA.2 variants, similar to the risk associated with the Delta variant. However, these results may not apply to individuals who were previously infected with COVID-19 and later reinfected with the Omicron variant, nor do they necessarily predict the implications for future variants.
- Study Caveats: The study emphasizes that long COVID is an emerging phenomenon that is not yet fully understood. The research provides an analysis of recently collected data, which will enhance understanding over time. It’s important to note that these are experimental statistics, still in the testing phase and not yet fully developed.
In conclusion, this study highlights the ongoing challenges in understanding and managing long COVID, particularly with evolving variants of the virus. The findings underscore the need for continuous research and surveillance to adapt to the changing landscape of the pandemic and its long-term impacts on health.