Emerging evidence has shown that COVID-19 survivors could suffer from persistent symptoms. However, it remains unclear whether these symptoms persist over the longer-term. This study aimed to systematically synthesise evidence on post-COVID symptoms persisting for at least 12 months. We searched PubMed and Embase for papers reporting at least one-year follow-up results of COVID-19 survivors published by 6 November 2021. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to estimate pooled prevalence of specific post-COVID symptoms. 18 papers that re-ported one-year follow-up data from 8,591 COVID-19 survivors were included. Fatigue/weakness (28%, 95% CI: 18-39), dyspnoea (18%, 95% CI: 13-24), arthromyalgia (26%, 95% CI: 8-44), depression (23%, 95% CI: 12-34), anxiety (22%, 95% CI: 15-29), memory loss (19%, 95% CI: 7-31), concentration difficulties (18%, 95% CI: 2-35) and insomnia (12%, 95% CI: 7-17) were the most prevalent symptoms at one-year follow-up. Existing evidence suggested that female patients and those with more severe initial illness were more likely to suffer from the sequalae after one year. This study demonstrated that a sizeable proportion of COVID-19 survivors still experience residual symptoms involving various body systems one year later. There is an urgent need for elucidating the pathophysiologic mechanisms and developing and testing targeted interventions for long-COVID patients.


This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Han, Q., Zheng, B., Daines, L. & Sheikh, A. 2022, 'Long-term sequelae of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis of one-year follow-up studies on post-COVID symptoms', Pathogens, 11(2), article no: 269. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11020269

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Last updated: 01 April 2023
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