Management of long-term effects of Covid-19 ; revelations of NICE & medial bodies

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network and Royal College of General Practitioners provide further details about the UK guideline


coronamaskNICE, SIGN and RCGP have set out more details about the United Kingdom guideline on management of the long-term effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

The guideline scope published on 30 October defines post-Covid syndrome (aka long Covid) as symptoms and signs that develop during or following an infection consistent with Covid-19 which continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

The guideline says the condition usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which may change over time and can affect any system within the body.

It also notes that many people with post-Covid syndrome can also experience generalised pain, fatigue, persisting high temperature and psychiatric problems.

Recovery from infectious illness

According to Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, “Recovery from any infectious illness can take time and although most people with Covid-19 will recover completely within a few weeks from the onset of symptoms, we know that a sizeable minority will continue to have symptoms for 12 weeks or more afterwards.” Chrisp said this is regardless of how ill they were initially or whether they were hospitalised.

He added: “This is a new condition and there is still a lot we don’t know about it. Our aim is that the post-COVID syndrome guideline will begin by setting best practice standards of care based on the current evidence but, as our understanding of the condition grows, be adaptable and responsive to new evidence as it emerges.”

Safia Qureshi, Director of Evidence for Healthcare Improvement Scotland, of which SIGN is a part, stated: “The scope report is a first and vital stage in the production of a guideline which aims to identify symptoms and outline treatment options. We’re delighted to work with NICE and the RCGP on this important piece of work.”

For his part, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Before we can effectively diagnose, treat and manage a condition, we need to know what we’re dealing with, so it’s encouraging to be making such rapid progress in this regard as we work with NICE and SIGN to develop this important guidance.”

The scope outlines what areas the guideline will cover. They include what pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions improve physical or mental health symptoms following acute Covid-19, what symptoms or signs should prompt a referral for specialist assessment or management and how best to deliver post-COVID syndrome recovery and rehabilitation services.

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(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)

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