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Drs. O'Laughlin and Nichol are Co-Authors on New COVID-19 Studies

August 2, 2023
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Drs. Kelli O'Laughlin and Graham Nichol are co-authors of two recently published studies about SARS-CoV-2 and symptoms that stem from the virus.

The first one titled, ''Association Between SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Frequency of Acute Symptoms: Analysis of a Multi-institutional Prospective Cohort Study-December 20, 2020-June 20, 2022" enrolled 4,113 participants from December 2020 to June 2022

While prior work examining severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern focused on hospitalization and death, less is known about differences in clinical presentation. The research team compared the prevalence of acute symptoms across pre-Delta, Delta, and Omicron.

Methods: They conducted an analysis of the Innovative Support for Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infections Registry (INSPIRE), a cohort study enrolling symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-positive participants. The team determined the association between the pre-Delta, Delta, and Omicron time periods and the prevalence of 21 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) acute symptoms.

Conclusions: Participants infected during Omicron were more likely to report symptoms of common respiratory viruses, such as sore throat, and less likely to report loss of smell and taste.

The second study titled, "Long COVID Clinical Phenotypes up to 6 Months After Infection Identified by Latent Class Analysis of Self-Reported Symptoms" used a multicenter study of symptomatic adults tested for SARS-CoV-2 with prospectively collected data on general symptoms and fatigue-related symptoms up to 6 months postdiagnosis.

The prevalence, incidence, and interrelationships of persistent symptoms after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection vary. There are limited data on specific phenotypes of persistent symptoms. Using latent class analysis (LCA) modeling, the team sought to identify whether specific phenotypes of COVID-19 were present 3 months and 6 months post-infection.

Results: Among 5963 baseline participants (4504 COVID-positive and 1459 COVID-negative), 4056 had 3-month and 2856 had 6-month data at the time of analysis. They identified 4 distinct phenotypes of post-COVID conditions (PCCs) at 3 and 6 months for both general and fatigue-related symptoms; minimal-symptom groups represented 70% of participants at 3 and 6 months. When compared with the COVID-negative cohort, COVID-positive participants had higher occurrence of loss of taste/smell and cognition problems. There was substantial class-switching over time; those in 1 symptom class at 3 months were equally likely to remain or enter a new phenotype at 6 months.

Conclusions: They identified distinct classes of PCC phenotypes for general and fatigue-related symptoms. Most participants had minimal or no symptoms at 3 and 6 months of follow-up. Significant proportions of participants changed symptom groups over time, suggesting that symptoms present during the acute illness may differ from prolonged symptoms and that PCCs may have a more dynamic nature than previously recognized. 

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