MORE than a third of Covid-19 patients are diagnosed with at least one long Covid symptom, according to a new Oxford study.

The study – by the University of Oxford and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre – found that 37 per cent of people had at least one long Covid symptom diagnosed in the three to six month period after Covid-19 infection.

The most common symptoms were breathing problems, abdominal symptoms, fatigue, pain and anxiety or depression.

The study investigated long Covid in over 270,000 people recovering from coronavirus.

Severity of infection, age and sex affected the likelihood of long Covid symptoms, with those who had been hospitalised and women more likely to suffer.

Older people and men had more breathing difficulties and cognitive problems, whereas young people and women had more headaches, abdominal symptoms and anxiety or depression.

Many patients had more than one long Covid symptom.

The study does not explain what causes long Covid symptoms, nor how severe they are, nor how long they will last.

Professor Paul Harrison, who headed the study, said: “Research of different kinds is urgently needed to understand why not everyone recovers rapidly and fully from Covid-19.

“We need to identify the mechanisms underlying the diverse symptoms that can affect survivors.

“This information will be essential if the long-term health consequences of Covid-19 are to be prevented or treated effectively.”