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expert reaction to an abstract on long COVID symptoms compared with outcomes following influenza

A conference abstract (not a published paper) presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) annual meeting looks at long COVID symptoms compared with outcomes following influenza.


Prof Lawrence Young FMedSci, Virologist and Professor of Molecular Oncology, said:

“This is a conference abstract reporting on an observational study of self-reported ongoing symptoms in adults previously infected with either the omicron covid variant after vaccination or with influenza. It reports a similar incidence of post-viral effects from infection with both viruses but also concludes that the health impact from long covid may be more significant given the vast numbers of people infected with SARS-CoV-2. Many of the features of long covid resemble chronic fatigue syndrome which we know is also a post-viral condition that can occur after infection with viruses such as influenza. While chronic fatigue syndrome has many overlapping symptoms with long covid, the distinct effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on different organ systems including the ability of the virus to promote excessive blood clotting and to persist in our bodies are likely to result in significant lifelong disabilities for some individuals. This observational study only provides a short-term snapshot at 12 weeks after a PCR-confirmed positive test for infection with no longer term follow up. It provides no definitive objective evaluation of symptoms by use of diagnostic testing. We know that vaccination can reduce the risk of developing long covid and that patients infected with omicron variants are 24%-50% less likely to develop long covid as compared to those infected during the delta wave. Nevertheless, the sheer number of people infected with omicron variants means that the burden of long covid will continue to grow and that we need to urgently develop robust diagnostics and explore therapeutic options.”



The abstract LB092 ‘Is long COVID really the next public health crisis? Post-COVID outcomes compared with influenza in Australia’ which was presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) annual meeting. There is no full paper at this stage.



Declared interests

Prof Lawrence Young: No conflicts

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