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Twelve Symptoms Contribute to Postacute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2

Symptom-based postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 definition includes postexertional malaise, fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, GI symptoms

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 2, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A group of symptoms has been identified that can define postacute sequelae of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (PASC), according to a study published online May 25 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Tanayott Thaweethai, Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used self-reported symptoms to develop a definition of PASC and describe PASC frequencies across cohorts in a prospective observational cohort study of adults with and without SARS-CoV-2 infection at 85 sites located in 33 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. A total of 9,764 participants met the selection criteria (8,646 infected; 1,118 uninfected).

The researchers found that for 37 symptoms, the adjusted odds ratios were 1.5 or greater for infected versus uninfected participants. Postexertional malaise, fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, palpitations, changes in sexual desire or capacity, loss of or change in smell or taste, thirst, chronic cough, chest pain, and abnormal movements were included as symptoms contributing to the PASC score. Overall, 10 percent of the 2,231 participants first infected on or after Dec. 1, 2021, and enrolled within 30 days of infection were PASC-positive at six months.

“This study is an important step toward defining long COVID beyond any one individual symptom,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This research definition — which may evolve over time — will serve as a foundation for scientific discovery and treatment design.”

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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