LONDON: The United Kingdom has reviewed that Omicron, the new variant of the deadly virus covid-19, is less likely to cause COVID than previous variants.
Using data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app, researchers at King’s College London found that the odds of developing long COVID after infection was 20 per cent to 50 per cent lower during the Omicron wave in the United Kingdom compared to Delta.
The new data depends on the patient’s age and the timing of their last vaccination.
Long COVID holds prolonged symptoms ranging from fatigue to “brain fog”, which can be debilitating and continue for weeks or months. It can be recognized as a public health problem, and researchers are finding out if Omicron presents a big risk of long COVID as previously dominant variants.
The researchers from the King’s College London said that the first academic research shows that Omicron does not present as significant a risk of long COVID, but it does not imply that long COVID patient numbers are dropping, the team added.
While the risk of the coronavirus was less during Omicron, many people were infected, but the number of people suffering from the variant was higher.
The UK’s Office for National Statistics said in May that 438,000 people in the country have long COVID after Omicron infection, representing 24 per cent of all long COVID patients.
It also said that the risk of lingering symptoms after Omicron was lower than with Delta, but only for double-vaccinated people. It found no statistical difference for those who were triple vaccinated.
In the King’s research, 4.5 per cent of the 56,003 people studied during Omicron’s peak, December 2021 to March 2022, reported long COVID.
That compared to 10.8 per cent of 41,361 people during the Delta wave, from June to November 2021. It did not compare vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.