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The largest study on the long-term effects of the coronavirus has found that most patients show signs of “long COVID” months after leaving the hospital.

63 percent of the patients reported fatigue, while 26 percent experienced difficulty sleeping.

Children display their calligraphy during New Year celebrations in Wuhan. Research of pandemic patients in the Chinese city has found that most suffered from health problems for up to six months after being discharged from the hospital. (Getty)

Unexpectedly, more than a third of the patients showed signs of kidney dysfunction, leading to health problems such as an increased risk of sexual dysfunction and increased body waste in the blood.

“Longer follow-up studies in a larger population are needed to understand the full spectrum of health consequences of COVID-19,” wrote the team led by Dr. Cao Bin of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing. , in an article published in The lancet.

The study is the largest of its kind and the first to look at the impact of the disease over a six-month period.

The phenomenon known as “prolonged COVID” has been linked to reports of chronic fatigue, joint pain, fever, and a myriad of other physical and mental difficulties among coronavirus patients.

Chinese researchers monitored the medical history of patients discharged from Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, the world’s first medical facility dedicated to treating coronavirus patients.

Almost 30 percent of the patients treated in the hospital were not part of the study.

About half refused to participate, while the rest were either too ill or had died.

The 1,733 participants in the study had to complete detailed examinations and return to the hospital for regular examinations.

A majority of 63 percent said they still felt fatigued six months after being discharged.

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The study looked at the long-term health conditions of 1,733 coronavirus patients at a Wuhan hospital. (AP)

Long-term lung damage was also found in hundreds of patients.

X-ray images of about 400 revealed that nearly half had a “ground glass” pattern in the lung tissues, causing shortness of breath.

And most of the patients studied had a lower level of antibodies, a possible sign that they will not be protected against the disease in the future.

“The risk of reinfection should be monitored,” the researchers added.

In a comment article also published in the LancetGiuseppe Remuzzi, from Italy’s Mario Negri IRCCS Pharmacological Research Institute, said there was uncertainty about the long-term health effects of the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, there are few reports on the clinical picture of the aftermath of COVID-19,” he said, adding that the latest study was therefore “relevant and timely.”

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