COVID-19 infection gives some immunity for at least five months

Henrietta Strickland
January 14, 2021

These patients also underwent physical examination, lab tests and a six-minute walking test to evaluate their endurance levels. "In light of reports that a subset of recovered patients with COVID-19 experience persistent symptoms such as fatigue, dyspnoea and joint pains, some over 80 days after initial onset of symptoms, we posit that the dysbiotic gut microbiome could contribute to immune-related health problems post-COVID-19". Other patients reported issues like difficulty sleeping, found in 26% of cases, and anxiety and depression, found in 23% of cases.

Around 400 patients went through further tests, such as an assessment of their lung function and 94 patients whose antibody levels were recorded at the height of infection went through a follow-up test.

The research was conducted among 1,733 out of 2,469 patients who were discharged from January to May from Jinyintan Hospital, one of the earliest designated hospitals for critical COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. Those that have been conducted looked only at a small number of cases over a short follow-up period, they added.

"Imbalance in the microbiome contributes to the severity of COVID-19, and if it persists after viral clearance, could contribute to persistent symptoms and multi-system inflammation syndromes like long COVID syndrome", said lead researcher Dr. Siew Ng, a professor from the Institute of Digestive Disease at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "Longer follow-up studies in a larger population are necessary to understand the full spectrum of health consequences from Covid-19." the researchers conclude. For example, the National Kidney Foundation determined that most coronavirus patients who developed acute kidney injury continue to have low kidney function after they're discharged.

Around 29 per cent of the patients required supplemental oxygen therapy whereas around 22 per cent of the patients did not require oxygen therapy. 13 per cent of patients who had normal kidney function in the hospital had reduced kidney function in the follow-up.

However, the researchers said that it was not possible to determine if symptoms reported during follow-up tests was continuing following the infection, aggravated after recovery, or occurred post recovery.

The scientists believe further work is needed to compare differences in outcomes between inpatients and outpatients.

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