Live: Coronavirus updates
Even a mild Covid-19 infection can result in kidney disease, research has found.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found people who have recovered from the virus are at greater risk of kidney damage.
Covid-19’s ability to harm the kidneys has been known since early 2020, shortly after the virus first began to spread.
Up to 30 per cent of patients admitted to hospital in China and New York with Covid-19 developed moderate or severe kidney injury as a result, according to studies.
But the new research shows that the risk extends to mild and moderate cases of Covid too.
Researchers compared data collected in almost 90,000 people who had recovered from the virus at least 30 days previously, to more than 1.6 million who had not had the virus, to determine the risks of kidney-related conditions.
They found those who had Covid-19 had a higher risk of kidney injury and “major adverse kidney events”.
The risk of end-stage kidney disease, where patients require a kidney transplant or dialysis, was almost three times higher for those who had recovered from Covid-19.
Pakistani cricket star funds UAE long Covid rehab clinic - in pictures
“These results suggest that beyond the acute phase of Covid-19 infection, people experience higher risk adverse kidney outcomes,” Ziyad Al-Aly, director of the clinical epidemiology centre at the Veterans Affairs St Louis Health Care System in Missouri, who led the research, told the British Medical Journal.
“Post-acute care of people with Covid-19 should involve attention and care for acute and chronic kidney disease.”
He said that while the findings suggest kidney injury during the infection raised the risk of problems later, the risk was higher for those who had not suffered one.
“It is also evident that the risk was increased in those who did not have an acute kidney injury during the acute phase,” he said.
Renal issues are known to be associated with Long Covid, a condition that results in lasting coronavirus symptoms.
Covid-19 patients with “acute kidney injury” have higher death rates compared with those without, said Dr Amitabh Kulkarni, specialist nephrologist at NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai.
“The risk of kidney damage is according to the severity of acute infection, however it has also been seen in non-hospitalised patients without severe disease,” Dr Kulkarni said.
Observation suggests that up to 20 per cent to 30 per cent of patients infected with Covid-19 will develop abnormal kidney function, Dr Kulkarni said.
“Incidence of acute kidney injury is about 5 per cent to 8 per cent in different studies.”