New variant can increase risk of long COVID, study finds

Credit: Unsplash+

In a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), scientists found that 30% of long COVID sufferers have had symptoms for more than two years.

New cases of long COVID are also increasing just as the new “Kraken” XBB1.5 subvariant looks set to sweep the U.K.

The latest government report shows long COVID sufferers. It shows 30% of people with long COVID symptoms have had them for over two years.

New cases of long COVID are also rising and these could be fueled by the arrival of the super-transmissible COVID “Kraken” XBB1.5 subvariant.

In the report, the team showed 2.1 million Brits are now suffering from long COVID, and 30% of those have now been battling these symptoms for over two years.

Long COVID continues to ruin lives. 1.6 million people in the U.K. say it adversely impacts their day-to-day activities.

Fatigue continues to be the most common self-reported symptom of long COVID (71%), followed by difficulty concentrating (49%), shortness of breath (47%) and muscle ache (46%).

The team says it’s quite wrong to believe long COVID was mainly caused by earlier variants of the virus and that new cases of the supposedly ‘milder’ omicron variants don’t trigger long COVID symptoms.

In fact, 37% of all current cases have developed during this latest omicron phase of the pandemic. In all, 9% of current long COVID sufferers first had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 less than 12 weeks previously.

It’s not hard to conclude that the higher the number of new COVID cases, the greater the likelihood of increased long COVID cases.

With that in mind, scientists should be concerned about the number of people contracting the latest COVID XBB1.5 subvariant, known in the U.S. as ‘Kraken.’

It is named after the sea monster from Scandinavian folklore and has not been given a Greek letter, as it is a subvariant.

Epidemiologists believe XBB1.5 is the result of two different strains of BA2 omicron subvariants merging together—it’s what is termed a ‘recombinant subvariant.’

It’s most likely caused by a person catching two different strains of COVID at the same time. It was first detected in New York in November and is now spreading rapidly both in the U.S. and the U.K.

Researchers say that XBB1.5 is both more immune evasive and better at infecting than previous subvariants. The issue could be that the greater the number of new COVID cases, the greater the chance of new long COVID symptoms.

The best way to guard against catching new COVID variants and developing long COVID symptoms is by being fully vaccinated.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new face mask to deactivate COVID-19, and new antiviral drug may block COVID-19 transmission.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about new evidence on rare blood clots after COVID-19 vaccination, and results showing mouthwashes may suppress COVID-19 virus.

The study was conducted by Dr. Quinton Fivelman et al from London Medical Laboratory

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.