VERY LONG COVID – Ranucci M. et al.
VERY LONG COVID – Studio sulla persistenza dei sintomi dopo 12-18 mesi dall’insorgenza dell’infezione e dal ricovero
THE VERY LONG COVID: PERSISTENCE OF SYMPTOMS AFTER 12–18 MONTHS FROM THE ONSET OF INFECTION AND HOSPITALIZATION
According to the World Health Organization’s definition, long COVID is the persistence or development of new symptoms 3 months after the initial infection. Various conditions have been explored in studies with up to one-year follow-up but very few looked further.
This prospective cohort study addresses the presence of a wide spectrum of symptoms in 121 patients hospitalized during the acute phase of COVID-19 infection, and the association between factors related to the acute phase of the disease and the presence of residual symptoms after one year or longer from hospitalization.
The main results are as follows:
- post-COVID symptoms persist in up to 60% of the patient population at a mean follow-up of 17 months;
- the most frequent symptoms are fatigue and dyspnea, but neuropsychological disturbances persist in about 30% of the patients
- when corrected for the duration of follow-up with a freedom-from-event analysis; only complete (2 doses) vaccination at the time of hospital admission remained independently associated with persistence of the major physical symptoms, while vaccination and previous neuropsychological symptoms remained independently associated with persistence of major neuropsychological symptoms.
The main result of our study pertains to the role of vaccination. In our series, patients vaccinated at the time of the acute phase had a one-third probability of developing major physical long COVID symptoms than non-vaccinated patients, and a one-fifth probability of developing major neuropsychological symptoms, independently from the severity of the disease. Therefore, the protective role of vaccination is not due to a lower severity of the acute phase, but to some alternative unknown mechanism that involves the immune system.
Reference: Ranucci, M.; Baryshnikova, E.; Anguissola, M.; Pugliese, S.; Ranucci, L.; Falco, M.; Menicanti, L. The Very Long COVID: Persistence of Symptoms after 12–18 Months from the Onset of Infection and Hospitalization. J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12,1915.