A study conducted on former patients from Wuhan reports that more than half of them still suffer from fatigue, pain, sleep problems or even mental problems more than two years after their hospitalization.

Even though their infection dates back more than two years, a large proportion of the first people hospitalized with Covid-19 still have persistent symptoms of the disease, according to a new study.

Published Wednesday in the scientific journal The Lancet, it suggests that 55% of people who have been admitted to hospital for a coronavirus infection still have at least one symptom. Although this proportion is significant, it remains lower than that observed six months after infection, where 68% of the first people hospitalized then presented at least one symptom of the disease.

Work carried out on patients from Wuhan

The work, carried out by researchers from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, concerns 1,192 people who were hospitalized at Jin Yin-tan hospital in Wuhan (China), where the first cases of Covid-19 were discovered. , between January and May 2020.

These same patients were again examined six months, twelve months and two years after their hospitalization. Medical tests, including lung function and six-minute walks, have established that the participants were in poorer health than before their contamination.

Those who have had persistent symptoms of Covid-19 have reported pain, fatigue, sleep and mental health issues, among others. In addition, those who received extensive respiratory support during their hospitalization had more long-term lung problems than other former patients.

More consultation and more difficulty in exercising

Participants with persistent symptoms also went to the doctor more often than before the pandemic. They also report having more difficulty exercising. While most have since returned to work, the study says it is unclear whether they are working as much as before the illness.

“There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of the population who have contracted Covid-19 and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments and variants affect long-term health,” said the Dr. Bin Cao, co-author of the study.

The latter, however, shows its limits since its authors did not compare the results to those of people hospitalized for reasons other than Covid-19, but to individuals who had never contracted the disease.

In addition, the results all come from patients from the same hospital who were infected during the first wave of the pandemic. The preparation of health establishments during the waves that followed, but also the global vaccination against the coronavirus, are factors that can have a significant impact on the state of health of former Covid patients.

Hugues Garnier BFMTV journalist