There are three different types of long Covid and each has its own set of symptoms, according to the researchers.
Experts at King’s College London looked at 1,459 people living with Covid-19 – defined by the study authors as showing symptoms for at least 84 days after infection – and found that there appeared to be three “subtypes” of the disease.
A preprint of the study, published on medRxiv, revealed that people with long-term Covid appeared to be divided into three main groups, including:
Those with neurological symptoms including fatigue, mental confusion and headache – most commonly found among those who were infected when the most dominant strains were alpha and delta.
A second group had respiratory symptoms, including chest pain and shortness of breath. This was most commonly found among those infected during the first wave of the virus.
A final group had a range of symptoms, including heart palpitations, muscle aches and changes in their skin and hair, King’s College said.
But the researchers said the three subtypes were evident in all variants.
Lead clinical author Claire Steves from King’s College London said: “These data clearly show that post-Covid syndrome is not just one condition but appears to have multiple subtypes.
“Understanding the causes of these subtypes can help find treatment strategies.
“Furthermore, this data emphasizes the need for long-term Covid services to incorporate a personalized approach sensitive to each individual’s issues.”
Liane Canas, from King’s College London, who also participated in the study, added: “These insights can help in the development of personalized diagnoses and treatments for these individuals.”
Last week, one in 20 people who catch Covid-19 have long-term smell or taste problems as a result, according to research published in the BMJ that reviewed data from 18 studies involving 3,699 patients.
This could mean that millions of people around the world may have suffered from problems with smell and taste for at least six months after a Covid infection.
Loss or alteration of smell or taste can cause people to suffer “severe suffering”, academics said, as they urge health systems to be prepared to support people who often feel “isolated” when laid off by doctors.
The Independent recently reported the case of flight attendant Katherine Francis, who had to quit her job because her long-term Covid symptoms were too severe.
The 29-year-old, from Burgess Hill, West Sussex, caught Covid in October 2020 and quit her job in March 2022. She is still struggling with severe respiratory pain, chronic cough and muscle weakness, among other symptoms, 22 months later. your original infection.
The latest figures show that Covid-19 infections in the UK have increased by around 7%, with the continued increase still driven by the newer Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
The number of hospitals also continues to increase, with early signs of an increase in intensive care admissions among older age groups.
A total of 3.8 million people in private households are estimated to have had coronavirus in the week to July 14, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In the previous week, there were around 3.3 million cases across the UK.
That’s the highest estimate for total infections since late April, but it’s still just below the record 4.9 million seen at the peak of the Omicron BA.2 wave in late March.
Additional reporting from the Press Association