According to the WHO, this will help in developing specific treatments.
It has been called different names, such as long COVID or long-haul Covid, but the WHO has standardized the term, which shall now be known as post-COVID-19 condition. This includes all symptoms lasting at least two months that cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
According to records held by the Pneumology Service of Madrid’s Hospital Universitario de La Princesa, supported by the WHO, the number of people affected by long-lasting symptoms after an acute Covid-19 episode is still unknown.
Persistent symptoms are more prevalent in women and the risk is age-related. Furthermore, the effects appear to occur regardless of the severity of the initial infection and are often linked to multiple organ systems.
The same group of experts explained that “the absence of a globally standardized and agreed-upon definition hampers progress in characterization of its epidemiology and the development of candidate treatments.”
As a result, a panel was formed to define the different symptoms, whose conclusions have been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
In a WHO-led Delphi process, the authors engaged with an international panel of 265 patients, clinicians, and researchers to develop a definition for this condition.
Dozens of definitions were evaluated to profile the post-Covid-19 condition. It was concluded that post-COVID-19 condition is the condition occurring in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, usually three months after the initial onset, with symptoms lasting at least two months, and which cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.
It is estimated that there may be more than 200, but these are the most common:
And these generally have an impact on daily life. The after-effects can also be new onset, after the initial recovery from COVID-19, or persist from the initial illness. This means that they might fluctuate or relapse over time.