Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid Response:

Time to focus on treatment of Long Covid

Dear Editor

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.

References
1. Coronavirus Update (Live): 31,935,752 Cases and 978,061 Deaths from COVID-19 Virus Pandemic - Worldometer [Internet]. [cited 2020 Sep 23]. Available from: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
2. Wise J. Long covid: doctors call for research and surveillance to capture disease. BMJ [Internet]. 2020 Sep 15 [cited 2020 Sep 22];370. Available from: https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3586
3. Burgers J. “Long covid”: the Dutch response. BMJ [Internet]. 2020 Aug 14 [cited 2020 Sep 23];370. Available from: https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3202
4. Karnataka to set up panel to study long-term effects of Covid-19 [Internet]. The Indian Express. 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 22]. Available from: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/karnataka-to-set-up-p...

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 September 2020
Dr Prabhat Prakash Gupta
Senior Resident
Dr Satish Kumar Gupta; Dr Praveen Gupta
Medanta The Medicity
Shivam Nursing Home, Delhi