The study of 110 patients was carried out by North Bristol NHS Trust as part of its Discover project, which aims to identify the long-term effects of the virus – the so-called "Long COVID."
A total of 81 patients out of 110 – almost 74% – experienced symptoms, including breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches after 12 weeks, the research found.
Although the majority had recovered from the initial symptoms, such as high fever, cough and losing their sense of smell, they still struggled to perform basic tasks such as washing and dressing themselves let alone return to work.
"There's still so much we don't know about the long-term effects of coronavirus, but this study has given us vital new insight into what challenges patients may face in their recovery and will help us prepare for those needs," said Dr. Rebecca Smith of the North Bristol NHS Trust.
The Discover project recruited 163 patients for the study, 19 of whom died. The remaining were called for a checkup after three months and 110 of them attended.
Dr. David Arnold, who leads the Discover project, said the study described "what many coronavirus patients have been telling us: they are still breathless, tired and not sleeping well months after admission."
"Reassuringly, however, abnormalities on X-rays and breathing tests are rare in this group," he added. "Further work in the Discover project will help us to understand why this is and how we can help coronavirus sufferers."
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