Study needed on longer-term effects

Photo: Dr Sim Kui Hian | Facebook

KUCHING: A thorough study needs to be done on the long-term health consequences of patients with Covid-19, said Sarawak Disaster Management Committee advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He was commenting on the findings of the Health Ministry which suggested more than half of Category 4 and 5 Covid-19 patients suffer from post-Covid syndrome or ‘long Covid’.

“After one year, more knowledge of Covid-19 is emerging. In western countries, (the syndrome) tends to affect people with mild symptoms, Category 1 and Category 2 patients.

“We need more study and a longer-term follow-up as we wonder in Malaysia why is it affecting people with severe symptoms — Category 4 and Category 5 patients,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday (June 12).

Dr Sim said the study should also focus on the impacts of Covid-19 on children as they make up a significant number of cases this year.

“Though most of them have mild symptoms and very few died, they have many more years to live. Their sufferings will be in the long term (if there is any post-Covid-19 syndrome),” he said.

Last Friday (June 11), Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a clinical study conducted by the ministry on 1,004 Category 4 and 5 Covid-19 patients, 66 percent of them were found to have ‘long Covid’.

He said the patients continued to show symptoms for 12 weeks or more.

The symptoms include fatigue, breathing difficulties, insomnia, cough and anxiety.

“This condition results from the complications brought by the Covid-19 infection to the functions of various organs in an individual’s body,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

Generally, he said, clinical data shows that a majority of Covid-19 patients in Malaysia are able to fully recover.

“Former Covid-19 patients who continue to display symptoms are advised to seek medical advice and treatment from the nearest clinic or hospitals.

“This is important to ensure the health levels of former Covid-19 patients are at a good stage and to avoid the risks of long-term complications,” he said.