Why the patient-made term 'Long Covid' is needed

Perego, E., Callard, F. , Stras, L., Melville-Jóhannesson, B., Pope, R. and Alwan, N. A. (2020) Why the patient-made term 'Long Covid' is needed. Wellcome Open Research, 5, 224. (doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16307.1)

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The patient-made term ‘Long Covid’ is, we argue, a helpful and capacious term that is needed to address key medical, epidemiological and socio-political challenges posed by diverse symptoms persisting beyond four weeks after symptom onset suggestive of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). An international movement of patients (which includes all six authors) brought the persistence and heterogeneity of long-term symptoms to widespread visibility. The same grassroots movement introduced the term ‘Long Covid’ (and the cognate term ‘long-haulers’) to intervene in relation to widespread assumptions about disease severity and duration. Persistent symptoms following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection are now one of the most pressing clinical and public health phenomena to address: their cause(s) is/are unknown, their effects can be debilitating, and the percentage of patients affected is unclear, though likely significant. The term ‘Long Covid’ is now used in scientific literature, the media, and in interactions with the WHO. Uncertainty regarding its value and meaning, however, remains. In this Open Letter, we explain the advantages of the term ‘Long Covid’ and bring clarity to some pressing issues of use and definition. We also point to the importance of centring patient experience and expertise in relation to ‘Long Covid’ research, as well as the provision of care and rehabilitation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Version 1; peer review: 1 approved with reservations, 1 not approved. This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust through grant to Leon Rocha [219172] and Jane Macnaughton [209513].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Callard, Professor Felicity
Creator Roles:
Callard, F.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Project administration, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Perego, E., Callard, F., Stras, L., Melville-Jóhannesson, B., Pope, R., and Alwan, N. A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Wellcome Open Research
ISSN (Online):2398-502X
Published Online:24 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Perego E et al.
First Published:First published in Wellcome Open Research 5:224
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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