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News BMJ Webinar

Long covid: How to define it and how to manage it

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 07 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3489

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  1. Nikki Nabavi, editorial scholar
  1. The BMJ

On 3 September The BMJ hosted an online webinar on the diagnosis, management, and prognosis of “long covid.” An expert panel discussed its symptoms, course, and character and suggested strategies for managing it. Nikki Nabavi reports


Panel member Nisreen Alwan (box 1) began the discussion by defining long covid as “not recovering [for] several weeks or months following the start of symptoms that were suggestive of covid, whether you were tested or not.”

Box 1

The webinar’s expert panel

  • Nisreen Alwan—associate professor in public health, University of Southampton, and honorary consultant in public health, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Has personal experience of long covid

  • Paul Garner—professor, Centre for Evidence Synthesis for Global Health, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and coordinating editor, Cochrane Infectious Disease Group. He has personal experience of long covid

  • Fiona Godlee—editor in chief, The BMJ (chair)

  • Trisha Greenhalgh—professor of primary healthcare, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, and practising GP

  • Nick Peters—professor of cardiology, Imperial College London, and consultant cardiologist

  • Valentina Puntmann—senior clinical investigator in cardiovascular imaging, University Hospital, Frankfurt

  • Tim Spector—professor of genetic epidemiology, King’s College London, and leader of the Covid Symptoms Study


“Profound fatigue” was a common symptom in most people with long covid, she said, but added that a wide range of other symptoms included cough, breathlessness, muscle and body aches, and chest heaviness or pressure, but also skin rashes, palpitations, fever, headache, diarrhoea, and pins …

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