According to physicians, significantly more must be invested in Germany in research into Long Covid and the treatment of sick people. "So far, that's far too little," said the vice-chairman of the Long Covid doctors' association, Daniel Vilser, of the German Press Agency. It is necessary to build up further research capacities and more treatment and care centers to which doctors can refer the sick. These institutions also need to be better funded. In addition, the training and further education of doctors on Long Covid must be improved.
Vilser is one of the conference leaders of the first congress of the association, which was founded nine months ago and starts in Jena on Friday, at which experts want to exchange previous findings on the diagnosis and therapy of Long Covid. The German patient guidelines define complaints that persist for more than four weeks after the corona infection as long covid, and they last longer than twelve weeks as post covid subform.
Around ten percent suffer from long-term effects
According to the doctor, who heads a long-Covid outpatient clinic for children at Jena University Hospital, around ten percent of corona-infected adults and one to two percent of infected children suffer from the long-term effects of the infection. "In view of the high number of infections, we are talking about hundreds of thousands." They are limited in their everyday life, for example by headaches, chronic coughs or concentration problems. Several thousand have been seriously ill for months, unable to work, bedridden, and sometimes can no longer take part in everyday life." Extreme chronic exhaustion (fatigue) is often described.
There is as yet no generally accepted therapeutic approach because of the extremely varied symptoms. Desperate sufferers therefore tried many experimental, sometimes expensive therapies whose effectiveness had not been independently proven according to scientific standards, said Vilser. "We take a critical view of that."
Another problem is the basic medical care of long-Covid patients. In view of the diffuse and diverse symptoms, a very time-consuming diagnosis is necessary. This cannot be done at all by general practitioners and paediatricians, where the majority of patients end up first. So far, more than 1000 participants have registered for the congress in Jena.