Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Using the full pseudonymised GP records of 57.9 million patients in England, researchers at Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have found that formally recorded diagnoses of Long COVID are substantially lower than previous survey estimates for the same condition.

Healthcare professional looking at a laptop with stethoscope in hand

This finding raises important questions about how Long COVID is diagnosed, recorded, and managed in the NHS. 

Numerous recent studies have used questionnaire research methods to determine the prevalence of Long COVID, with the most recent estimates suggesting that approximately 2 million people have the condition (REACT2) and that between 7.8% and 17% of COVID patients experience symptoms for more than 12 weeks (National Core Studies Programme).

By contrast, for a study published today in the British Journal of General Practice, the research team ran an analysis across the full electronic health records of 57.9 million patients in England, in order to identify all those with a diagnostic code for Long COVID entered by their GP. They found only 23,273 cases ever formally recorded between February 2020 and April 2021, in a sample covering 96% of the population. Cases ranged from 20.3 per 100,000 people in the East of England, to 55.6 per 100,000 in London, with 52.1 cases per 100,000 women compared with 28.1 cases per 100,000 men. Interestingly, levels of reporting also varied greatly between GP practices, and with the type of computer-based systems used by GPs to record patient information.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

Drug could help diabetic hearts recover after heart attack - Oxford research

Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified a drug that could ultimately help improve heart function in people with diabetes who have heart attacks.

Largest ever global study of tuberculosis identifies genetic causes of drug resistance

Using cutting-edge genomic sequencing techniques, researchers at the University of Oxford have identified almost all the genomic variation that gives people resistance to 13 of the most common tuberculosis (TB) drug treatments.

Peter Horby receives prestigious award for outstanding service to public health

The Faculty of Public Health (FPH) has awarded its prestigious Alwyn Smith Prize to Professor Sir Peter Horby (Nuffield Department of Medicine) for 2020/2021 in recognition of his outstanding service to public health as a global leader in epidemic science.

Six new Fellowships announced as part of Oxford-Bristol Myers Squibb Fellowships Programme

The Oxford - Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) Fellowships Programme continued to demonstrate significant progress over the last year, despite the challenges associated with the global pandemic, including restricted lab access and work from home guidance. Today, we are pleased to announce six new Oxford-BMS Fellowships for 2021.

Researchers set out steps to address mental health effects of the pandemic on young people

Researchers have outlined 14 steps that schools, mental health services and policymakers can take to help children and young people whose mental health has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anti-cancer drug derived from fungus shows promise in clinical trials

A new industry-academic partnership between the University of Oxford and biopharmaceutical company NuCana as found that chemotherapy drug NUC-7738, derived from a Himalayan fungus, has 40 times greater potency for killing cancer cells than its parent compound.