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New UK study shows 2 million people may have had long COVID

Coronavirus. Stock Photo: Pixabay

London, June 25 (MNN) Over two million people in England are thought to have had one or more COVID-19 symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks, according to one of the largest studies of the virus funded by the UK government.

The study is based on self-reported data from 5,08,707 adults aged 18 and above who took part in REACT-2 rounds 3 to 5 carried out between September 2020 and February 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care said.

Around a fifth of those surveyed reported having had a COVID-19 symptom previously, with over a third reporting persistent symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks.

Around a tenth of those with symptoms said they lasted at least 12 weeks and were severe.

The findings suggest prevalence of persistent symptoms, or long COVID, increases with age, with a 3.5 per cent increase in likelihood in each decade of life.

It shows long COVID is higher among women, people who are overweight or obese, who smoke, live in deprived areas, or had been admitted to hospital.

Persistent COVID-19 symptoms were lower in people of Asian ethnicity.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Long COVID can have a lasting and debilitating impact on the lives of those affected. Studies like this help us to rapidly build our understanding of the impact of the condition and we are using these findings and other new research to develop support and treatments.”

COVID-19 is still a relatively new disease and to better understand its long-term effects, the government is providing scientists with 50 million pounds of research funding through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to help ensure the best treatments are available.

To help people suffering the debilitating long-term effects of this virus, the NHS has opened over 80 long COVID assessment services across England and last week the NHS published a 100 million pound plan to expand support, including 30 million pounds to help GPs improve diagnosis and care for patients with long COVID.

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