COVID-19 has been associated with reported long-term effects on the physical fitness of US military personnel

IDWeek Research: COVID-19 Linked to Reported Long-Term Effects on US Military Fitness

AT A GLANCE

  • COVID-19 has been associated with reported long-term effects on the physical fitness of US military personnel.
  • Despite being younger and healthier than the general US population, military personnel who had COVID-19 reported difficulty with daily activities and exercise up to six months later and reported that their mandatory physical fitness scores were affected up to one year after COVID-19.
  • Research shows that vaccination reduces the risk of these reported fitness complications in military personnel.

In a study of active-duty U.S. military personnel, approximately one-third of those who contracted COVID-19 reported new or increased difficulty with exercise and daily activities one month after diagnosis, which decreased to levels before COVID-19 by six to nine months after illness, according to research presented at IDa week.

The researchers also found that among active-duty service members, 39% of those who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 reported that their physical fitness test scores were affected, and 34% still reported that their physical fitness test scores were affected. their fitness tests were affected one year after infection. These rates are higher than the comparison group of active duty members without COVID-19 (26%).

“Infection with COVID-19 can have a negative impact on functioning—including the performance of daily activities and exercise,” said Stephanie Richard, MD, MHS, presenting author of the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program at the Uniformed Services University sciences and epidemiologist for the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Inc. (HJF). “Even in a younger, generally healthier population like the US military, the effects of COVID-19 can last for months and months.”

Subjects completed survey fitness questions at one-, three-, six-, nine-, and 12-month intervals after being enrolled with COVID-19. The study compared these responses between those with and without COVID-19. The study also looked at factors associated with a higher or lower risk of developing these persistent self-reported post-COVID fitness complications; data show that vaccination has a protective effect.

“Vaccine subjects, even if they had sudden infections, did not have as great a long-term effect on exercise and daily activities,” said Simon Pollett, MBBS, who is senior author, principal investigator of the study, and director of the Acute Respiratory Infections Research Area at The Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and employed by HJF. “These results highlight the value of vaccination not only in preventing death and disease, but also in preserving quality of life in the long term.”

Future research in this study will look at whether the COVID-19 vaccine boosters offer additional protection against longer-term fitness complications, as well as identifying biomarkers that may help predict which active-duty service members are more likely to develop such the so-called “long COVID”. ‘

About IDa week
IDThe week is the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Society for Healthcare Epidemiology, the HIV Treatment Association, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, and the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists. IDThe week is a recognized forum for peer-reviewed presentations of new research on scientific advances and bench-to-bedside approaches in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including HIV, across the lifespan. For more information visit www.idweek.org.

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