Long-term symptoms 23 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection

Authors: Shanet Susan Alex Aug 2 2022 Medical Life Sciences News

In a recent article posted to Open Forum Infectious Diseases, scientists analyzed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms lasting 23 months after the infection.


More than 572 million confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cases globally were reported over two and a half years into the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, there are likely many more undetected COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, numerous studies have shown that the long-lasting impacts of COVID-19, also known as long COVID, could significantly influence the global public health and healthcare burden. Nonetheless, the length of long COVID is still unknown, given most studies indicate that patients still have identifiable signs and symptoms at the time of their last evaluation about 12 months following infection.

In a prospective cohort of 180 mostly non-hospitalized cases, the present study’s authors have previously detailed the prevalence of symptoms four months following SARS-CoV-2 infection, with more than half of the subjects experiencing persistent symptoms.

About the study

In the current prospective research, the scientists investigated the same study population they assessed earlier for four months for long-term COVID-19 symptoms for 23 months post-SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

The team invited all patients with confirmed COVID-19 in the Faroe Islands between March 2020 and April 2020 to participate in the study. Further, 180 subjects were interviewed via phone, and a validated questionnaire was used to evaluate their symptoms. Moreover, all study volunteers submitted informed consent before enrolling. The last follow-up was performed 19 to 23 months after illness onset, from November 2021 to January 2022.

The researchers asked questions on memory, recovery, and concentration only at the last follow-up since the chronic neurological effects of COVID-19 were unknown at the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. They also interrogated the participants regarding concentration and memory problems before COVID-19.


Overall, the study results showed that above one-third of COVID-19 patients from the spring of 2020 reported still having symptoms over two years following the acute infection. However, 76% of volunteers claimed full recovery, even some with at least one SARS-CoV-2 symptom during follow-up. Some people with chronic COVID-19 symptoms reported feeling complete recovery, whereas 2% reported feeling no recovery, and 22% reported no full recovery.

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