It has been centuries since humanity has been impacted by a pandemic, while none of us can imagine the previous pandemics that hit the globe – plague, smallpox, yellow fever, and other contagions that killed hundreds of millions around the world.
The novel coronavirus, which first broke out and peaked around this time last year, took just a few months to spread its tentacles around the world. More than 2.5 million people worldwide have died, and while we have come up with vaccines in record time, the virus continues to play havoc with our lives.
Even as different parts of the world are reporting newer strains, variants that are even deadlier than the first strain of the virus, the race is on to get a majority of citizens vaccinated by the respective countries, but the research done on the virus throws some alarming data.
While we know that the virus attacks the protein of our body cells such that the body becomes weak, the antibodies in the body are rendered incapable of booting itself, and hence the virus invades the body; while some display symptoms, others may be asymptomatic.
Research done on Covid -19 has shown that the virus affects various parts of the body; almost all organs in the body are affected by this deadly virus; now recent research done has shown that one in three Covid -19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within a span of six months of infection.
In the Lancet Psychiatry journal, an observational study of more than 2,30,000 patients was done and health records published, the study looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders since the pandemic began, and the research on the effects of this virus on the body shed some light onto the long term effects that the covid -19 has on an individuals body, for those who may have been infected with the virus at some point in time.
The above research points out the ill that those who have survived the Covid -19 might be at an enhanced risk of neurological disorders.
The same research group had also published earlier that Covid 19 survivors have an augmented risk of mood and anxiety disorders in the first three months of infection. However, since no large-scale data was examining the risk, the same could not be confirmed, but now there is sufficient data to prove that Covid -19 survivors may indeed require neurological and psychiatric diagnosis in the six months after Covid -19 infection.
What does the data say?
The latest study analyzed data from the electronic health records of 236,379 Covid 1-9 patients from the US–basedUS–based TriNetX network, which includes more than 81 million people.
The study was done on Covid -19 survivors, who were older than 10 years and got infected with SARS – CoV – 2 virus after January 20, 2020, had survived and were alive on December 13, this group was compared with 105,579 patients that were diagnosed with influenza, and 236,038 patients diagnosed with any respiratory tract infection (including influenza)
The research showed the overall estimated incidence of being diagnosed with neurological or mental health disorders following Covid -19 infection was 34%. For at least 13% of these people, it was their first psychiatric or neurological diagnosis.
What were the diagnoses?
The most common diagnosis after Covid – 19 infections were –
Substance Misuse Disorders
The above risks were found to be greatest in but not limited to patients who had severe Covid 19. As mentioned above, the overall 34% incidence, a psychiatric diagnosis pr a neurological diagnosis occurred in 38% of those who were admitted to the hospital, 46% of those in intensive care units, and 62% in those who were delirium (Confused thinking, reduced awareness of the environment) during the Covid – 19 infection.
The authors say their findings should aid service planning and highlight the need for ongoing research. “Although the individual risks for most disorders are small, the effect across the whole population may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic and that many of these conditions are chronic. As a result, health care systems need to be resourced to deal with the anticipated need, both within primary and secondary care services.”
Dr. Max Taquet, a co-author of the study from the University of Oxford, said: “Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after Covid-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors. We now need to see what happens beyond six months. The study cannot reveal the mechanisms involved, but does point to the need for urgent research to identify these, with a view to preventing or treating them.”
Conclusion: the Covid 19 virus is not to be taken lightly; the effect it has on the body and its organs are long term and despite the vaccines being available, it is to be noted that several of these vaccines have been said to have adverse effects, side effects on those to whom they were injected; although the vaccines still are the best bet, one cannot but stress on individual responsibility and adequate precautions.