Even after a month of the acute phase of Covid-19, some patients who had mild cases still report persistent symptoms, including frequent headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, altered memory, and loss of smell.
Preliminary data from an ongoing study at Unicamp (State University of Campinas) carried out with 80 people who have already had the disease—of which only three needed hospitalization—shows that about 30% of those recovered from Covid-19 still claim to feel fatigued and frequent headache for a period of up to two months after diagnosis of the disease.
Of these former patients, approximately 20% report changes in memory and drowsiness. Only 25% of the participants say they are as healthy as they were before the infection.
The study, carried out by the Brazilian Institute of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology (BRAINN), has the support of Fapesp and the collaboration of a multidisciplinary group composed of neurologists, psychologists, nurses, physicists, radiology technicians, and biologists.
The initial results point to the effects of the new coronavirus on the nervous system, triggering neurological complications, according to neurologist Clarissa Lin Yasuda, a professor at Unicamp who leads the research.
Covid-19 can affect various parts of the body, such as the lung, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Loss of smell, a common symptom during the disease, can also last for months, and experts do not rule out definitive loss of function, even though the possibility is low. As it is a new disease, it is not known for how long these effects can last.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon