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Infection With Omicron Less Likely to Result in Post-COVID-19 Condition

No variation in risk for PCC seen based on number of vaccinations, but previous infection linked to reduced PCC risk

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The risk for post-COVID-19 condition (PCC) is reduced in association with infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) omicron variant, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Sophie Diexer, from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, and colleagues examined the occurrence of long-term symptoms after omicron infection compared with other variants among participants of the DigiHero study. Participants provided information about their SARS-CoV-2 infections, vaccinations, and PCC (symptoms 12 or more weeks after infection).

The researchers found that the risk for PCC was highest for participants infected with wildtype SARS-CoV-2 (adjusted odds ratio, 6.44), followed by those infected with alpha and delta variants, compared with those infected with omicron having received three or more vaccinations. The number of preceding vaccinations was not associated with a risk reduction for PCC among those infected with a specific variant, but previous infection was strongly linked to reduced PCC risk (adjusted odds ratio, 0.14).

“While the omicron variant was associated with a much lower risk of PCC in our study, the lack of protection by vaccination regarding the occurrence and symptom severity of PCC (in case of an infection) suggest that this condition can become a serious challenge for the health care system during the early endemic phase of SARS-CoV-2,” the authors write.

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