Long Covid more common in women and children and lasts for months, warns latest review

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Lasting effects of infection from coronavirus are more common in women and children than expected, with at least 10 per cent of people infected suffering persistent symptoms for months, a new review has found.

Experts at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) examined more than 300 separate scientific studies for the analysis. It found many patients reported struggling to access testing and help from the NHS to treat their symptoms, which varied between patients, suggesting long Covid is a group of four possible syndromes affecting patients differently.

The report said: “Long Covid appears to be more frequent in women and in young people (including children) than might have been expected,” adding other sufferers could be experiencing an active disease, impacting on their organs and causing debilitating symptoms that would need ongoing treatment. In some patients, the effects included neurological changes in their brains while others showed signs of blood clotting and inflammation. Other patients reported anxiety, fatigue and damage to their lungs and heart.

It also warned there was evidence some long Covid patients could actually be getting worse, underlining the need to invest in services that will be needed to cope with what could be a long term problem.

Dr Elaine Maxwell, author of the review, told The Independent the challenge of a new condition meant the picture was not clear and studies were examining different aspects in different ways.

But she added: “The fact that so many different people, independently, and in different countries, are coming up with similar findings adds to the weight of evidence that there is something that we need to investigate further.

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