Research: What happens to people with Long Covid over a year? 

April 11, 2022


This is a very large and important study from France looking at what happens to people with Long Covid over the course of time. 

These results demonstrate that Long Covid, just like ME/CFS, is having a substantial impact of all aspects of normal life in those who develop this post viral disease. 

The two graphs in Fig 3 (see article) illustrate how both the severity of individual symptoms and the impact of Long Covid on quality of life changes over time. 

And the increasingly adverse effect on the various quality of life measures that occur from 6 months onwards may indicate a realisation that Long Covid is turning into a chronic life changing disease, just like ME/CFS, rather than a temporary dip in health. 

The researchers note that this trend seemed more pronounced among younger patients, for whom Long Covid is more likely to be their first contact with a chronic disease that seriously disrupts their lives. 

ME/CFS has a very low profile in France, so it comes as no surprise to see that there is no discussion about the important clinical and pathological overlaps with ME/CFS and the fact that a proportion of these people with Long Covid will almost certainly now meet the diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS. 

Research: 

Tran V et al. Course of post COVID-19 disease symptoms over time in the ComPaRe long COVID prospective e-cohort | April 2022 

Published in Nature Communications

Abstract: 

About 10% of people infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 experience post COVID-19 disease.  

We analysed data from 968 adult patients (5350 person-months) with a confirmed infection enrolled in the ComPaRe long COVID cohort, a disease prevalent prospective e-cohort of such patients in France.   

Day-by-day prevalence of post COVID-19 symptoms was determined from patients’ responses to the Long COVID Symptom Tool, a validated self-reported questionnaire assessing 53 symptoms.  

Among patients symptomatic after 2 months, 85% still reported symptoms one year after their symptom onset.  

Evolution of symptoms showed: 

  • a decreasing prevalence over time for 27/53 symptoms (e.g., loss of taste/smell), 
  • a stable prevalence over time for 18/53 symptoms (e.g., dyspnoea), and, 
  • an increasing prevalence over time for 8/53 symptoms (e.g., paraesthesia).  

The disease impact on patients’ lives began increasing 6 months after onset. Our results are of importance to understand the natural history of post-Covid-19 disease. 

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