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To date approximately 32 million people have suffered from Covid the world over. Fortunately, more than 73.5% (23.5 million) have recovered too (1). Recovery figures may appear satisfactory to many. But in reality, a significant number of recovered people keep coming back to hospital with various symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, etc. In the absence of any guidelines, treating physicians are uncertain what to do for such patients.
Way back in Jan 2020, when the Sars Cov -2 infection started, disease was taken as a challenge by the world’s scientists, who started to share their knowledge and experiences with peers; research on the subject was at an all time high, leading to flooding of information. These collective efforts led to better understanding of disease in the form of various treatment protocols, resulting in decreasing the death rate from as high as 14% in Italy in the early days to nearly 3% in the world now, and the same seems to be declining further (1).
The world seems to have a working knowledge about the management of the acute disease but data on long term effects of disease remains sparse and scattered.
Some medical bodies, experts (2) and governments (3) have taken some initiative to form research groups to study the long term consequences of covid (4). But a concerted effort by a world body like WHO is required at the moment to define the disease, monitor the prevalence, institute research protocols on the lines of the Solidarity trials so that treatment guidelines may emerge for long covid.
Sequelae of viral infections can take a very long time to manifest. For example, Subacute Sclerosing Pan Encephalitis (SSPE) can take 1 to 27 years to develop. Thus it will require great patience to study all the Sequelae of CoVID-19.
Arvind Joshi MBBS MD FCGP FAMS FICP.
No competing interests
16 September 2020
Founder Convener and President Our Own Discussion Group Mumbai PIN 400028; Consultant Physician at Ruchi Diagnostic Center and Ruchi Clinical Laboratory Kharghar PIN 410210; Maharashtra State INDIA.
Our Own Discussion Group, Ruchi Diagnostic Center and Ruchi Clinical Laboratory.