According to a new study, every tenth person who was affected by a mild COVID-19 infection and recovered will face loss of smell, taste and fatigue for up to eight months.
A study by researchers at Danderyd Hospital and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that every tenth survivor of mild COVID-19 can have a moderate to serious negative impact on their work, social or home life.
“We investigated the presence of long-term symptoms after mild COVID-19 in a relatively young and healthy group of workers and found that the dominant long-term symptoms were loss of smell and taste,” said Charlotte Thalin, lead researcher and specialist at Danderyd Hospital and Karolinska Institutet.
“Fatigue and respiratory problems are also more common among participants who have had COVID-19 but do not occur to the same extent,” Thalin said.
However, the study did not show an increased prevalence of cognitive symptoms such as brain fatigue, memory and concentration problems, or physical disorders such as muscle and joint pain, heart palpitations or prolonged fever, Thalin noted.
The findings are described in detail in JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association.
The three-phase study collected blood samples from 2,149 participants in 2020 for the first time. About 19 percent of them showed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 infection.
Blood samples were taken every four months. In January 2021, the team examined the presence of long-term symptoms in 323 health care workers and compared it with 1,072 health care workers who did not have COVID-19 throughout the study period.
The results show that 26 percent of those who had previously had COVID-19, compared with 9 percent in the control group, had at least one moderate to severe symptom that lasted more than two months, and that 11 percent versus 2 cents in the control group group, had at least one symptom that adversely affected work, social or domestic life and lasted for at least eight months.