Doctors call for research and surveillance to capture long-tail Covid

By on

A group of doctors who have been affected by persistent symptoms of Covid-19 have written a manifesto based on their personal experiences.

In a letter published in The BMJ, the group of 39 UK doctors called for research and surveillance to capture the full spectrum of disease, including in those not admitted to hospital and not tested, to build an accurate picture of covid-19 phenotypes.

They said that there was an emerging picture that prolonged symptoms were having substantial effects on a significant minority of people and that death was not the only outcome to measure. They called for a clear definition of recovery from covid-19.

Doctors warn against reliance on “one size fits all” online rehabilitation services

“Failure to understand the underlying biological mechanisms causing these persisting symptoms risks missing opportunities to identify risk factors, prevent chronicity, and find treatment approaches for people affected now and in the future,” they wrote.

The action plan also called for the establishment of one-stop clinics involving multidisciplinary teams to help the rehabilitation of patients experiencing long covid. Thorough investigations should be carried out to detect any organic pathology and to evaluate the patient’s cardiac and respiratory function before any active rehabilitation can start.

In the letter, the doctors warned against reliance on “one size fits all” online rehabilitation services as they risk “serious harm to patients if pathology goes undetected.”

They pointed out that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recently cautioned against using graded exercise therapy for patients recovering from covid-19 and that it was important that information like this was communicated quickly to clinicians.

Patients experiencing persisting symptoms of covid-19 have a great deal to contribute to the search for solutions and should be involved in the commissioning of clinical services and the design of research studies, the letter said.

Finally, the doctors said that a clinical diagnosis should be sufficient to access any appropriate services because widespread testing was not available in the early days of the pandemic and because of the risk of false negatives associated with antibody tests.

"We welcome increasing awareness of the problem of persisting symptoms of Covid-19," says the letter. "As politicians, scientists, and doctors attempt to tackle this issue, these principles can act as a guide enabling the experiences of those with the condition to inform the efforts of experts and lead to improved research and clinical care, benefiting those affected and society as a whole."

Article based on copy produced for BMJ website (author, Jacqui Wise)

Full letter here


Grenfell Istock 1170168751 Olivierguiberteau MED

Grenfell Tower campaigners fear repeat unless action is taken

By Belinda Liversedge on 14 June 2021

Non-profit organisation Justice4Grenfell has launched a campaign calling for justice and accountability, four years to the day that 72 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

production line_0.jpg

Workers’ watchdog welcome, but needs funding says Peer

By Belinda Liversedge on 11 June 2021

Members of the House of Lords clashed at a Parliamentary debate on the government's new workers’ watchdog, which has been set up to protect the rights of UK workers.

Menopause Istock 1044148964 Ridofranz MED

Women made to feel ‘incapable of doing their job’ because of menopause

By Belinda Liversedge on 10 June 2021

An MP has called for workplace menopause policies to be made mandatory, to help women work through what can be the most difficult time of their lives.