A study led by corresponding author Paul Kuodi with the Faculty of Medicine at Bar-Ilan University, Israel and the Galilee Medical Center, uncovered what appears as potentially good news. Still in preprint mode—the study shouldn’t be cited as evidence—it nonetheless, raises hopes about COVID-19 vaccination and long COVID. From one point of view, given approximately 90%+ of SARS-CoV-2 infections lead to mild to moderate or asymptomatic cases, the risk of long COVID is far more concerning than the risk of severe acute COVID-19. Some earlier small studies showed vaccination reduced the risk for long COVID by about 50%, but many hoped for a significantly better reduction in risk for what represents 10% to 30% of COVID-19 patients a problematic situation. Now this larger study from Israel shows more promising results.
The Bar-Ilan University-led study team followed COVID-19 PCR-positive patients between March 2020 to November 2021, comparing vaccinated individuals with unvaccinated via self-reported symptoms. They included 951 infected and 2437 uninfected individuals. The most reported symptoms were: fatigue (22%), headache (20%), weakness (13%), and persistent muscle pain (10%). After adjusting for follow-up time and baseline symptoms, those who received two doses were less likely than unvaccinated individuals to report any of these symptoms by 64%, 54%, 57%, and 68% respectively (Risk ratios 0.36, 0.46, 0.43, 0.32, p<0.04 in the listed sequence). Those who received two doses were no more likely to report any of these symptoms than individuals reporting no previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The study team concluded that vaccination with at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine was associated with a substantial decrease in reporting the most common post-acute COVID-19 symptoms, bringing it back to baseline. The study authors commented that their results suggest that, in addition to reducing the risk of acute illness, COVID-19 vaccination may have a protective effect against long COVID.
Obviously, this study predates Omicron. However, based on the etiology of Omicron and the reduced virulence one would expect the frequency of long COVID in Omicron cases to be much lower than previous variants. Of course, these study results need to be peer-reviewed, and additional data could help.Subscribe to the Trialsitenews “SARS-CoV-2” ChannelNo spam – we promise
Nevertheless, this is very good news out of Israel on the long COVID front.
A public research university founded in 1955 and based in Ramat Gan in the Tel Aviv District, Bar-Ilan University https://www.biu.ac.il/en is Israel’s second-largest academic institution with 18,000 students and 1,350 faculty members.
Lead Research/Investigator (Corresponding Author)
Paul Kuodi, Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, Galilee Medical Center