COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
from McMaster PLUSTM

Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)

Prognosis Iwu CJ, Iwu CD, Wiysonge CS The occurrence of long COVID: a rapid review. Pan Afr Med J. 2021 Jan 20;38:65. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2021.38.65.27366. eCollection 2021.

The long-term effects of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are not well understood. This rapid review was aimed at synthesizing evidence on the long-term effects of the SARS-CoV-2 infection among survivors. We considered both randomised controlled trials and non-randomised studies eligible for inclusion in this review. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane library, Google Scholar, and the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 database. The reference lists of all the included studies were also searched. Two authors independently screened the search outputs and reviewed full texts of potentially eligible articles. Data extraction was done by one author and checked by a second author. A meta-analysis was not conducted due to heterogeneity among the included studies. Results are presented narratively. Eleven studies met our inclusion criteria. All these studies were conducted in high-income countries. Study findings demonstrate that COVID-19 survivors can experience persistent symptoms after recovering from their initial illness, especially among previously hospitalized persons. The majority of symptoms reported were fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, and sleep disorders. Mental conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders, were also reported. In conclusion, this study showed that COVID-19 survivors can experience persistent symptoms after recovering from their initial illness. Therefore, there is a need for a long-term follow-up of COVID-19 patients and rehabilitation services for survivors. More research is needed in this area, especially in Africa.

Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Pediatrics (General)
Pediatric Hospital Medicine
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists
Internal Medicine
Infectious Disease
Comments from MORE raters

Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists rater

This is a useful summary of studies on persistent COVID-19 symptoms following initial infection. Interestingly, similar post-SARS symptoms were reported with other novel coronavirus epidemics.

Infectious Disease rater

Not high quality study design.