Long Covid risk less with Omicron than Delta variant, UK study finds

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 causes a shorter COVID risk than the Delta variant, new research in the UK has found.

Researchers at King’s College London analyzed data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app published in a letter to the journal The Lancet on Thursday, according to age and time since vaccination.

Lung COVID is defined by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines as having new or ongoing COVID symptoms four weeks or more after onset of illness.

The Omicron variant appears to be significantly less likely to cause COVID-19 than previous variants, yet one in 23 people who contract COVID-19 continue to have symptoms for more than four weeks, said study lead author Dr. Claire Steves of King’s College London.

Given the number of people affected it is important that we continue to support them at work, at home and within the NHS [National Health Service]she said.

Long-standing COVID symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of concentration and joint pain and these could impair daily activities and in some cases be severely limiting.

Patient studies suggest that a range of other symptoms may also be present, including bowel problems, insomnia and vision deterioration.

This week’s research is based on the first peer-reviewed study to report on long-term COVID risk and Omicron variant.

King’s College London studied 56,003 British adults who were infected between December 2021 and March this year, when Omicron was dominant, and compared them with 41,361 cases where Delta was common.

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that five percent of people reported at least one long-term COVID symptom 12 to 16 weeks after a coronavirus infection.

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