A new statistical analysis sought to understand the differences in the risk of developing long COVID with different SARS-CoV-2 variants. The study found that after being triple vaccinated, the risk of long COVID was statistically the same for all the variants considered.
For people who initially had COVID-19 with the Delta variant, the risk of long COVID symptoms dropped by half with a booster.
Among the many unknowns surrounding long COVID is if and how the condition may arise with different SARS-CoV-2 variants.
A new statistical bulletin from the U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS) takes a look at the risk of long COVID after an initial infection compatible with the Delta, Omicron BA.1, and Omicron BA.2 variants.
The analysis focuses on individuals who have not previously experienced a SARS-CoV-2 infection and compared double-vaccinated with triple-vaccinated individuals. Triple vaccination included third and booster doses.
The analysis found that in triple vaccinated individuals, there was no statistically significant difference in the risk of long COVID among the considered variants. Dr. Daniel Ayoubkhani, the ONS’s principal statistician and co-author of the analysis, told Medical News Today that the statistics offered insight into the long COVID risk with Omicron variants.
“We believe this is the first published evidence to date on the epidemiology of long COVID following infection with the Omicron variant, and there is now a need for further research into the possible biological mechanisms behind our findings.”
The statistical bulletin was posted on the ONS website.
Slight differences in variants The analysis revealed some differences in long COVID risk among recent SARS-CoV-2 variants. Double-vaccinated individuals with initial infections compatible with the Delta variant were 50.3% more likely to report long COVID symptoms than those who experienced COVID-19 with the Omicron BA.1 subvariant. The data also found that the risk of long COVID in those whose infections were compatible with Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 was not quite the same.For triple-vaccinated individuals, the odds of developing long COVID symptoms were 21.8% higher for Omicro n BA.2 compared to Omicron BA.1.