Covid long: Cough, smell, fatigue, neck pain, hair loss… Which symptoms get worse over time?

French researchers have carried out the first study in the world that reconstructs the precise history of each symptom of Covid long.

It was scientists from the AP-HP (Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris) and the University of Paris Cité who looked at the evolution of 53 symptoms of the long Covid by studying, over time, their evolution with of 968 patients.

This research is a world first and it has already been able to determine that 85% of patients still had long Covid a year after infection. As a reminder, previous studies have shown that 10 to 15% of people infected with the coronavirus develop a long Covid, the most frequently reported symptoms of which are fatigue, headaches and ‘mental fog’-type concentration disorders. .

The study led by Dr. Viet-Thi Tran (University of Paris Cité / Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris) made it possible to reconstruct the evolution, day by day, of the symptoms of the disease. Above all, it highlighted a hitherto unknown fact: the disease changes over time.

These worsening symptoms

– 27 of the 53 symptoms seem to fade over time. Thus, cough, smell disorders and taste disorders are less and less present in the patients studied.

– 18 of the 53 symptoms did not change at all. Fatigue thus remains stable over time.

– Finally, 8 of the 53 symptoms are present in more and more patients studied during the months that the study lasted. Hair loss, not very present at the start of a long Covid, thus seems to affect more and more affected patients, as do neck, back and lower back pain and disorders of the sense of touch.

For the researchers, this study finally makes it possible “to describe the dynamics, day after day, of the symptoms of long Covid”. “These results shed light on the pathophysiology of the disease. They make it possible to identify, among all the complex and heterogeneous manifestations of long Covid, those which are more linked to the sequelae of the acute disease (whose symptoms decrease during time) and those related to other mechanisms, whether these are immunological, psychosomatic, or still unexplained”.

Studies are continuing to try to explain the “path” taken by the disease several months after infection. The AP-HP has also launched an appeal to long Covid patients in order to enrich the database and allow a better understanding of the disease. They can register on the Compare platform “to advance medical research.

The results of their study were published in the journal Nature Communications in early April.

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