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18 Percent of Long Covid Patients in Switzerland Still Sick After Two Years

A recently updated Swiss study shows up to 18% of those surveyed with Long Covid had not recovered even two years after infection.

Most of those affected by Long Covid recover. However, the results of a study in the canton of Zurich published this week in the British Medical Journalconcluded that up to 18% of individuals with Long Covid, who were not vaccinated before infection with the original varient of the virus, remained sick with condition up to two years after infection. 

The study followed 1,734 adults drawn from the general population of canton of Zurich. 1,106 were confirmed to be infected with the original variant of SARS-CoV-2 and had not been vaccinated. A further 628 were not infected.

Milo Puhan, a Director of the Institute for Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention at the University of Zurich who is involved in the study, told SRF the study represents the first time that we can quantify the extent of a post-viral syndrome. 

From 12 months after infection, the number of people reporting ongoing symptoms decreased only slightly. 6 months after infection, 22.9% had not fully recovered. This percentage fell to 18.5% after 12 months and then to 17.2% after 24 months. Gregory Fetz, a long-Covid specialist at the cantonal hospital in Graubünden, told SRF that current observations suggest a decreasing likelihood of recovering completely after being ill for so long. 

However there is a range of symptom severity among those who remained sick with Long Covid. According to Puhan, 4% to 6% percent are moderately or severely impaired in everyday life, while 70% have relatively mild symptoms.

Some specialists have suggested parallels between Long Covid and diseases like myalgic encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). These diseases, which have similar symptoms to Long Covid, can be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection. 

It is difficult to estimate how many people in Switzerland are affected by Long Covid. Some are calling for a national register of patients like there is for other diseases. 

Treatments for Long Covid remain elusive. Most fall back on treating symptoms like pain. Long Covid Switzerland, a support network has been set up in Switzerland to help inform and support those with the disease. 

Source: Le News



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