A Tool For Knowing Long Covid

Covid remains a Global Concern in 2021
The world has lost one million people to COVID-19 so far this year, a “tragic milestone” as defined by the World Health Organisation, which has called for vaccinating more people against the disease.

A lot has been said about Long Covid and people now are more susceptible to the virus. A lot of symptoms are also associated with Long Covid, which can affect people for months after the original coronavirus infection has gone. In a bid to assess the symptoms ahead, a group of researchers have come up with a comprehensive tool for use in research and clinical care.

More than 200 symptoms are associated with Long COVID, which can affect many organs in the body and include breathlessness, fatigue, or brain fog.

The researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Patient-Reported Outcomes Research have come up with “Symptom Burden Questionnaire” for Long COVID. Patients can use it to report symptoms and the data can be used to help identify treatments, and test whether these are safe and effective.

“People living with Long COVD say they experience a huge range of symptoms but getting these recognised by healthcare practitioners and policymakers has been a struggle,” said senior author, Dr Sarah Hughes. “We designed and tested this tool with our patient partners to ensure it is as comprehensive as possible, while also not being burdensome for patients to complete,” the researcher said

The resulting questionnaire measures different symptoms of Long COVD and the impact of these symptoms on daily life. It was developed with extensive patient input following regulatory guidance, meaning its scores may be used to support regulatory decisions around the approval of new therapies for Long COVID and by policymakers.

The study was carried out in partnership with patient data technology specialist, Aparito Ltd, and funded by the National Institute for Health Research and UK Research and Innovation. The team plans to carry out more development and testing to explore how the tool can be used in routine clinical practice, including translating it for use in other countries and minority ethnic communities.


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