A cohort study of Post COVID-19 Condition across the Beta, Delta and Omicron waves in South Africa: 6-month follow up of hospitalised and non-hospitalised participants.
Jassat W., Mudara C., Vika C., Welch R., Arendse T., Dryden M., Blumberg L., Mayet N., Tempia S., Parker A., Nel J., Perumal R., Groome MJ., Conradie F., Ndjeka N., Sigfrid L., Merson L., Cohen C.
ObjectiveThe study aimed to describe prevalence of and risk factors for Post COVID-19 Condition (PCC).MethodsThis was a prospective, longitudinal observational cohort study. Hospitalised and non-hospitalised adults were randomly selected to undergo telephone assessment at 1, 3 and 6 months. Participants were assessed using a standardised questionnaire for evaluation of symptoms and health-related quality of life. We used negative binomial regression models to determine factors associated with the presence of ≥1 symptoms at 6 months.Results46.7% hospitalised and 18.5% non-hospitalised participants experienced ≥1 symptoms at 6 months (p=<0.001). Among hospitalised people living with HIV, 40.4% had persistent symptoms compared to 47.1% among HIV-uninfected participants (p=0.108). Risk factors for PCC included older age, female sex, non-black race, presence of a comorbidity, greater number of acute COVID-19 symptoms, hospitalisation/ COVID-19 severity and wave period (lower risk of persistent symptoms for Omicron compared to Beta wave). There were no associations between self-reported vaccination status with persistent symptoms.ConclusionThe study revealed a high prevalence of persistent symptoms among South African participants at 6 months although decreased risk for PCC among participants infected during the Omicron BA.1 wave. These findings have serious implications for countries with resource-constrained healthcare systems.