The super mutant Omicron variant has already spread in over 100 countries
Studies indicate that the Omicron variant produces a milder infection as compared to its predecessors. However, that is not a plausible reason to believe that the highly-transmissible variant will not lead to long Covid conditions among survivors. These claims were made by experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA, P.D Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mumbai, last week on Friday.
What is long Covid?
According to the CDC, long Covid "is a range of symptoms that can last weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 or can appear weeks after infection. Long Covid can happen to anyone who has had Covid-19, even if their illness was mild, or if they had no symptoms".
More than 50 such long-term effects have been identified so far. The most common reported symptoms that occur 4-12 weeks post-recovery are headache, fatigue, sleep disturbance, concentration difficulties and abdominal pain. Up to one in seven children and young people who caught SARS-CoV-2 may also have symptoms linked to the virus about three months later. Notably, cases of long Covid have had no connection with the severity of the initial infection.
Experts conflicted on post covid effects of Omicron
Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci was quoted as saying, "Long Covid can happen no matter what virus variant occurs. There's no evidence that there's any difference between Delta or Beta or now Omicron. We should always be aware that when people get symptomatic infection - anywhere from 10 to up to 30 plus percent of people will go on to have persistence of symptoms."
His claims were backed by a research by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, that found that the immune response triggered by Covid infection may be longer than the recovery process, leading to long-term symptoms.
However, Nikhil Modi, Consultant Pulmonology/ Respiratory Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, disagrees and claims that Long Covid will not be seen in this variant. He says, "Long Covid symptoms are the resultant factor of the inflammation being left by the virus. Since this variant is not giving rise to the inflammatory factors, we are not expecting long Covid to be a part of the Omicron variant".