Researchers from King's College London in the UK have looked into the effects of the Covid-19 variants, Omicron and Delta, and how this affects the risk of developing Long Covid. The study found that people infected with the Omicron variant have a 20-50% lower risk of developing it compared to people who have contracted the Delta variant, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet last Thursday.
The scientists examined data from Covid-19 patients when Omicron raged across the UK from December 2021 to March 2022, and compared it to patients who were caught the virus during the Delta wave, from June to November 2021.
Out of the 56,003 patients in the Omicron group, 4.5% caught Long Covid, while out of the 41,361 patients from the Delta cohort, 10.8% had got it.
Scientists warn of the dangers of underestimating the need for care around Long Covid. Although the risk may be lower with the Omicron variant, it is still much more contagious than Delta, so many more patients with Long Covid have been added in absolute numbers.
"I wouldn't close the services around Long Covid just yet," said lead researcher of the study, Claire Steves.
According to the UK's National Statistical Office, there are currently 438,000 patients with long-term covid from Omicron in the country, which is 24% of all the UK long-term Covid-19 patients.
According to Belgium's Sciensano Institute of Public Health, Covid-19 cases are rising in Belgium. 2,432 Covid-19 infected were discovered every day between 7 and 14 June, a 79% increase compared to the week before.