More than half of patients who have had Covid-19 suffer from sequelae after a year, says research

A study conducted by the University of São Paulo (USP) revealed that 60% of patients who had Covid-19 still have sequelae of the disease about a year after recovery. The research followed 750 people who contracted the virus in the first half of 2020 and who went through the Hospital das Clínicas.

The results show that at least 30% still suffer from serious lung disorders. Despite this, the study indicates that these cases can still be reversed. Other common Covid-19 sequelae include anxiety, insomnia, memory loss, cognitive difficulties, and heart problems.

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“There are cases where the lungs still have inflammation even a year after hospital discharge. We have already seen that these inflammations can turn into fibrosis (pulmonary scars), which are permanent,” explains Carlos de Carvalho, director of the Pulmonology Division at the Instituto do Coração (InCor) to Estadão.

Covid-19 sequels

According to Carvalho, it is common for respiratory viruses to contaminate cells located in the airways, especially in the nose and throat. This process limits the long-term damage caused by these diseases. However, the Covid-19 virus takes advantage of this and makes these pathways a gateway to the lower respiratory system, such as the lung, allowing the virus to reach the bloodstream and reach other parts of the body.

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“We realized that patients who took longer to be referred to the Hospital das Clínicas arrived in a more serious state, and this also aggravates the sequelae of Covid-19. The longer the hospital stay and the severity of the infections, the greater the tendency to have more long-term sequelae”, adds the specialist.

The researcher also points out that the research focuses on contaminated in the first wave of Covid-19 and that, as well as many of the virus’ symptoms have changed, the sequelae may also have been altered during this period.