New guidance for people suffering from long Covid being drawn up

New guidance to help people suffering from long Covid is being drawn up by health officials.

Around one in 20 people experience symptoms including fatigue, breathlessness, muscle pain and loss of taste and smell for 12 weeks or more after first contracting the virus.

That is according to research by King’s College London, which also found this figure rises to one in 10 people under the age of 50.

Other symptoms can include high temperature and psychiatric problems, and different features of the condition may emerge and overlap over time as the illness progresses.

The study focused on data from 4,182 Covid Symptom Study app users who had been consistently logging their health and tested positive for Covid-19 through swab PCR testing.

Now the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (Sign) are looking at which long Covid symptoms should prompt a referral to specialist services.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is also involved, and the guidance is due to be published before the end of the year.

It will look at which drugs and other therapies improve patients’ physical and mental health following an acute case of coronavirus, and how best to deliver long-term recovery and rehabilitation services.

Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at Nice, said: “This is a new condition and there is still a lot we don’t know about it.

“Our aim is that the post-Covid syndrome guideline will begin by setting best-practice standards of care based on the current evidence but, as our understanding of the condition grows, be adaptable and responsive to new evidence as it emerges.”

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Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Before we can effectively diagnose, treat and manage a condition, we need to know what we’re dealing with.


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“The prolonged health effects that some patients experience after contracting Covid-19 can have a terrible impact on their lives – and as GPs we want to do what we can to help them.”

The guidance will also offer tools to assess recovery or deterioration in sufferers of long Covid, and gather information from patients about their experiences of trying to manage symptoms and access care.

The guidance is due to be made available internationally for reference by other health services around the world.