COVID-19 symptoms: research offers insight into recovery 2 years after infection

A summary of research published in the Lancet

A new study has looked at the health of people who have recovered from a stay in hospital with COVID-19. The research, published in the Lancet, looked at whether there are any lasting effects of the disease 2 years after infection.


What did the study look at?

Researchers used information from 1,192 people who had been discharged from hospital after recovering from COVID-19. They looked at people in Wuhan, China between January and May 2020.

They collected information at 6 months, 12 months and 2 years after people first developed symptoms. They used a walking test, laboratory tests and questionnaires looking at symptoms, mental health, quality of life, working status and healthcare visits. They compared these findings to a group of people from the wider population who had not had COVID-19.

What do the results show?

The results found that most people had improved symptoms and returned to their original work within 2 years of leaving hospital:

  • The number of people who reported at least one symptom after leaving hospital fell from 777 out of 1,149 at 6 months to 650 out of 1,190 at 2 years.
  • The number of people with symptoms of anxiety or depression fell from 256 out of 1,105 at 6 months to 143 out of 1,191 at 2 years.

However, the study group had worse general health than the wider population. They experienced more problems with pain or discomfort, as well as anxiety or depression, at the 2-year follow up compared to the group from the wider population. People who had received a higher level of support to breathe during their stay in hospital had worse lung function at 2 years compared to people from the wider population.

Why is this important?

This is one of the first studies to look at the health of people 2 years after they have recovered from a stay in hospital with COVID-19. The results suggest there is an urgent need to continue to investigate long-COVID and develop ways to reduce the risk of long-COVID for people who are ill with the condition.

Further information

Read the original research paper:

Health outcomes in people 2 years after surviving hospitalisation with COVID-19: a longitudinal cohort study

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