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Trajectory of long covid symptoms after covid-19 vaccination: community based cohort study

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2021-069676 (Published 18 May 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:e069676

Linked Editorial

Are vaccines a potential treatment for long covid?

Rapid Response:

Long Covid in south-east Asia

Dear Editor,

The article by Ayoubkhani and colleagues is an essential step for understanding Covid. (1) However, such efforts are not very common in developing parts of the world like southeast Asia.

Only a handful of studies with a limited sample size restricted the scope for drawing inference on the long-term implications of Covid in this part of the globe. One study from India indicated long Covid in 29.2% of patients - 23.4% in mild/ moderate cases and 62.5% in severe/critical cases. Contrary to the present study from the UK, it could not find any protective role of two doses of Covid-19 vaccines. (2) Another study from the northern part of the country estimated that 22% of patients may develop long Covid. (3) A third study found about 8% of the patients reporting ongoing symptomatic Covid and 32% of patients having a post-Covid phase. (4) In Bangladesh, the prevalence of long Covid symptoms at 12 weeks was 16.1%, fatigue being the most common symptom. (5) From Pakistan, 83.7% of patients reported residual symptoms even after one month after Covid-19 infection, body ache being the most common symptom. (6)

As vaccines were seen to reduce the chance of developing long Covid by 50% (7), there is a need for similar evidence from southeast Asia, home to 680 million people.

References
1. Ayoubkhani D, Bermingham C, Pouwels KB, et al. Trajectory of long covid symptoms after covid-19 vaccination: community based cohort study. BMJ2022;377:e069676.
2. Arjun MC, Singh AK, Pal D, et al. Prevalence, characteristics, and predictors of Long COVID among diagnosed cases of COVID-19. medRxiv 2022 preprint; Available from:
https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.04.21268536
3. Naik S, Haldar SN, Soneja M, et al. Post COVID-19 sequelae: A prospective observational study from Northern India. Drug Discov Ther. 2021;15(5):254-60.
4. Budhiraja S, Aggarwal M, Wig R, et al. Long Term Health Consequences of COVID-19 in Hospitalized Patients from North India: A follow up study of upto 12 months. medRxiv [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 13]; Available from: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.06.21.21258543v1.
5. Hossain MA, Hossain KMA, Saunders K, et al. Prevalence of Long COVID symptoms in Bangladesh: a prospective Inception Cohort Study of COVID-19 survivors. BMJ Glob Health. 2021 ;6(12):e006838.
6. Qamar MA, Martins RS, Dhillon RA, et al. Residual symptoms and the quality of life in individuals recovered from COVID-19 infection: A survey from Pakistan. Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2022;75:103361.
7. UK Health Security Agency. The effectiveness of vaccination against long COVID: A rapid evidence briefing. In: Team UC-E, ed, 2022. www.gov.uk/government/news/ukhsa-review-shows-vaccinated-less-likely-to-...

Competing interests: No competing interests

25 May 2022
Manas P Roy
Public Health Specialist
New Delhi