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Fears Covid may leave thousands in UK with severe kidney disease

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Tens of thousands of people may require kidney dialysis or transplants because of coronavirus, according to experts who warn the long-term effects of Covid are causing an “epidemic in primary care”.

Up to 90% of coronavirus patients admitted to hospital may still experience symptoms two to three months later – from breathlessness to joint pain, fatigue and chest pain – scientists told the Lords science and technology committee on Tuesday.

Donal O’Donoghue, a consultant renal physician at Salford Royal NHS trust, said damage to the kidneys was of major concern. It is believed the virus may attack the organ directly, he said, while the kidneys could also be injured by body-wide inflammation caused by the virus.

“Normally we see maybe 20% of people that go on to intensive care unit need to have a form of dialysis. During Covid it was up to 40% – and 85% of people had some degree of kidney injury,” he said. “No doubt that is happening out in the community as well, probably to a lesser extent.”

Tom Solomon, professor of neurology at the University of Liverpool, told the committee more needed to be done to support Covid survivors. “[GPs] are seeing lots of patients who are left over with problems from their Covid and they need to be able to refer them to get help in understanding what is going on,” he said, adding: “This is really the current epidemic in primary care.”

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Source: The Guardian, 15 September 2020

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