Natural history of long-COVID in a nationwide, population cohort study

Claire E. Hastie, David J. Lowe, Andrew Mcauley, Nicholas L. Mills, Andrew J. Winter, Corri Black, Janet T. Scott, Catherine A. O’donnell, David N. Blane, Susan Browne, Tracy R. Ibbotson, Jill P. Pell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Previous studies on the natural history of long-COVID have been few and selective. Without comparison groups, disease progression cannot be differentiated from symptoms originating from other causes. The Long-COVID in Scotland Study (Long-CISS) is a Scotland-wide, general population cohort of adults who had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection matched to PCR-negative adults. Serial, self-completed, online questionnaires collected information on pre-existing health conditions and current health six, 12 and 18 months after index test. Of those with previous symptomatic infection, 35% reported persistent incomplete/no recovery, 12% improvement and 12% deterioration. At six and 12 months, one or more symptom was reported by 71.5% and 70.7% respectively of those previously infected, compared with 53.5% and 56.5% of those never infected. Altered taste, smell and confusion improved over time compared to the never infected group and adjusted for confounders. Conversely, late onset dry and productive cough, and hearing problems were more likely following SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3504
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2023


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