More than three-quarters of COVID-19 patients have at least one ongoing symptom six months after initially becoming unwell, according to international researchers who surveyed over 1,700 patients in Wuhan, China. The most common persistent symptom is fatigue or muscle weakness (63 per cent of patients).

Difficulty sleeping (26 per cent) and anxiety or depression (23 per cent) were also frequently reported. Patients who were severely ill in hospital more often had impaired lung function and abnormalities detected in chest imaging – which could indicate organ damage – six months after symptom onset.

The researchers also found antibodies that neutralise the virus fell by more than half (52.5 per cent) after six months in 94 patients whose immune response was tested at the peak of their infection, raising concerns about the possibility of being reinfected by the virus.