Updated 11 January 2022
As health research and services improve, the number of COVID-19 survivors is increasing worldwide. However, this means that the burden of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or Long COVID is rising. To date (January 2022), more than half of the people who have had COVID-19 experienced symptoms six months after recovery from the initial infection.
The most common Long COVID symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, functional mobility impairments, and mental health (depression/anxiety), which can impact daily functioning.
Vaccinated people are mostly asymptomatic or present with mild symptoms while infected. Also, they report less symptoms of long COVID.
A contemporary study suggests microcirculation and endothelial dysfunction are associated with Long COVID-19 symptoms, specifically non-respiratory symptoms.
- A French study with a large population (n= 26,823) indicated that people who believed or self-reported COVID-19 infection despite negative serological test results reported more persistent physical symptoms.
Long COVID Management
- Kidney function should be monitored in Long COVID care as a large cohort (n = 1,726,683 US Veterans) of patients who survived COVID-19 have exhibited increased risk of kidney issues.
- Blood results should be regularly monitored, and individual’s thrombotic risk should be regularly evaluated based on their comorbidities and coagulation profile as some patients have reported late-onset thrombocytopenia related to immune system dysregulation.
- Glucocorticoids may be an alternative treatment option for patients who are not responding or who are intolerant to conventional therapy.
- A novel treatment option, stellate ganglion block, has been proposed
- Non-invasive brain stimulation using microcurrent (NIBS) was used to treat cognitive and visual impairments
- A clinical trial on montelukast in respiratory symptoms in Long COVID is in Phase III.
NIH awarded $470 million to support diverse research on the long-term effects of COVID-19 at 30 institutes. The NIH REsearching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative has started recruiting children and young adults who previously tested positive for COVID-19 to track the impact on their physical and mental health over three years. Details of the study are accessed here.
President Biden has announced disability protection rights for the COVID long hauliers.
Finland’s Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru said that Long COVID would be the largest chronic disease. Around 20% of its population are experiencing cognitive impairment.
Victoria University of Wellington has been granted $1.2 million to establish a longitudinal study in New Zealand to understand the short and long term impacts of COVID-19 and highlight equity issues anticipated by the cohort.
- Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago are investigating immune dysregulation and long-term immunity in those with Long Covid and relations with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).
- The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a $1.15-billion research investigation over four years into long COVID.
- The FDA approved an experimental antiviral medication (molnupiravir) for emergency use on 30th Nov, 2021.
- University of Otago's Emeritus Professor Warren Tate has received funding from Brain Research New Zealand to study the relationship between Long COVID and Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).
The information on this page was prepared by multi-disciplinary health professionals at the National Institute for Health Innovation and affiliates and was originally created on 9 December 2020.