A recent study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revealed that individuals who experienced post-Covid conditions after being discharged from the hospital, were nearly three times more likely to have died within a year, compared to those without these symptoms.
Among patients admitted to the hospital with moderate to severe Covid-19 infection, the study found that 6.5 per cent died by the end of the one-year follow-up period.
The study collected data from 14,419 patients across 31 hospitals and conducted phone follow-ups for a year to gather the findings.
According to the study, 17.1 per cent of individuals hospitalised since September 2020, experienced post-Covid conditions.
The study did not adhere to the definitions of "long-Covid" set by the World Health Organisation or US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as these definitions were established after the study began.
Instead, the study defined post-Covid conditions as the persistence or new onset of symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, cognitive abnormalities (such as difficulties in memory or concentration), and brain fog.
Participants were considered to have post-Covid conditions if they reported these symptoms during the first follow-up, four weeks after discharge.
The study found that men, individuals above the age of 60, and those with comorbid conditions faced a higher risk of death within a year after being discharged from the hospital.
It also highlighted the significant impact of receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, as it reduced the risk of death by 40 per cent, during the first follow-up at four weeks.
According to a senior scientist formerly associated with ICMR, this study specifically focuses on mortality among individuals hospitalised with moderate to severe Covid-19.
The reported mortality rate of 6.5 per cent cannot be applied to those with a simple upper respiratory infection who are able to walk. Therefore, these findings should not be generalised to mild cases that go unreported.
The scientist emphasised the importance of considering comorbidities in relation to Covid-19 mortality.
Even after recovering from the virus, individuals with conditions such as liver cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease are at a higher risk of experiencing complications and post-Covid symptoms. It is crucial for them to take extra precautions.
The study explores several hypotheses to explain the deaths observed in the year following a Covid-19 infection.
Possible factors contributing to these deaths include prolonged inflammation, organ damage caused by the virus, and dysfunction of the endothelial lining in the lungs. These factors may play a role in the long-term consequences of the disease.
With the emergence of new variants, a high-level Covid-19 review meeting was chaired by P K Mishra, the Prime Minister's principal secretary, on Monday (21 August).
The EG.5 variant has been detected in more than 50 countries, while another variant, BA.2.86, has been identified in four countries.
Sudhanshu Pant, the Union Health secretary, emphasised the importance of maintaining preparedness in public health systems and urged states to monitor cases of influenza-like illnesses.
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