A new study has revealed the determinants of persistent and severe COVID-19. The findings, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, could help to identify patients at high risk of developing severe disease and aid in the development of targeted therapies.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers, looked at data from 1,590 patients with COVID-19 from across China. The patients were followed up for 28 days after diagnosis and their clinical characteristics were recorded.
Of the 1,590 patients, persistent symptoms were seen in 774 (48.8%) and severe disease in 546 (34.3%). Multivariate analysis showed that older age, male sex, and having diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease were independently associated with an increased risk of persistent or severe COVID-19.
In addition, the team found that patients who were persistently symptomatic were more likely to have greater lung involvement, as assessed by chest imaging, and higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in their blood.
The findings suggest that older age, male sex, and underlying medical conditions are risk factors for persistent or severe COVID-19. These results could help to identify patients at high risk of developing severe disease and aid in the development of targeted therapies.
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emerged in China in December 2019, and has since spread globally, causing a pandemic of respiratory illness. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is characterized by fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In some cases, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including pneumonia, and even death.
Early studies suggested that most people who became infected with SARS-CoV-2 recovered within a week or two. However, a small proportion of patients (estimated to be around 1%) develop a more severe form of the disease, known as persistent or severe COVID-19. Persistent COVID-19 is defined as symptoms that last for more than three weeks, and severe COVID-19 is defined as requiring hospitalization.
While the vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve on their own, the consequences of persistent and severe COVID-19 can be serious. patients with persistent or severe COVID-19 may require prolonged hospitalization, and some may require admission to the intensive care unit. In addition, patients with persistent or severe COVID-19 may experience long-term effects, such as fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
The factors that contribute to the development of persistent or severe COVID-19 are not fully understood. However, several factors have been identified that may increase the risk of developing persistent or severe disease. These include age, male gender, underlying medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease), and obesity.
Age is the biggest risk factor for developing persistent or severe COVID-19. The risk of developing severe disease increases with age, from around 1% in people under the age of 50, to 10% in people aged 70 or over. Male gender is also a risk factor for severe disease, with men being 1.5 times more likely than women to develop severe COVID-19.
Certain underlying medical conditions also increase the risk of severe COVID-19. People with diabetes are around twice as likely to develop severe disease as those without diabetes. People with heart disease or lung disease are also at increased risk of severe COVID-19, as are people who are obese.
While the exact mechanisms by which these risk factors increase the severity of COVID-19 are not fully understood, it is thought that they may contribute to a number of different processes. For example, age and underlying medical conditions may lead to a more severe inflammatory response to the virus, while obesity may impair the ability of the lungs to exchange oxygen.
Identifying the factors that contribute to the development of persistent or severe COVID-19 is important for several reasons. First, it may help to identify people who are at increased risk of severe disease and who may need to be monitored more closely. Second, it may help to identify people who may benefit from early interventions, such as corticosteroids, which have been shown to be effective in reducing the severity of COVID-19. Finally, understanding the factors that contribute to severe disease may help to inform the development of new treatments for COVID-19.