NICD to continue long COVID study for another year

The NICD's Dr Waasila Jassat said that the objectives of the study included characterising physical and psychological consequences in patients post-COVID-19 infection.

FILE: A hospital worker walks amongst patients in the COVID-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on 29 December 2020. The patents in this ward are not critically serious, but do require oxygen and to lie down. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that it would continue its study to better understand long COVID, where the effects of the virus persist.

The national Health Department held a long COVID webinar on Friday.

The NICD's Dr Waasila Jassat said that the objectives of the study included characterising physical and psychological consequences in patients post-COVID-19 infection.

Dr Waasila Jassat from the NICD said that they started recruiting patients in January and would continue until April next year.

The team was sampling COVID-19 patients post-hospitalisation.

She said that over 4,000 calls were made - about 3,000 were unreachable but over 1,000 surveys had been completed.

"On their admission with acute COVID infection, they had complained of the following symptoms most commonly: fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, cough, muscle ache, headache, chest pains."

Jassat said that they would continue to recruit people.

"If any new variants emerge, they will be included in the new studies so that we can better understand what long COVID is like among patients with different variants, patients who have been vaccinated or not vaccinated."

She said that they would continue the study for another year and follow up with patients but it would also be useful if funding was obtained to conduct the survey among non-hospitalised patients.

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