The BMA recently published an article (19/12/23) looking at our response to the covid-19 pandemic. The article starts by providing statistics on the high number of people in the UK estimated to be suffering from long-term symptoms of long Covid, with many experiencing significant daily life impacts. It notes that long Covid risk was highest for those infected in 2020 before vaccines.
The article then discusses how long Covid arises from physiological mechanisms, evidenced by distinct biomarkers associated with different symptom clusters. It argues this growing understanding should facilitate potential treatments tailored to patient subgroups. However, there is a lack of treatment trials and research funding.
The article contrasts the current lack of urgency on long Covid to the major efforts early in the pandemic to rapidly test acute Covid treatments. It argues more randomized controlled trials are feasible now with sufficient will and funding.
The article critiques how long Covid was overlooked in UK pandemic modeling and policymaking, which focused on deaths and hospitalizations from acute infection. It says long Covid’s prevalence and impact warranted explicit inclusion, even with uncertainties.
In conclusion, the article argues that post-viral syndromes were predictable with Covid-19 based on prior coronaviruses. The likelihood of significant long-term morbidity should have been considered earlier in policies balancing infection spread and public health.
The full article can be read here.