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WHO Formally Defines “Post COVID-19”

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On October 6, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report titled "A clinical case definition of post COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus," which contains a standardized definition of "Post COVID-19."

On October 6, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report titled “A clinical case definition of post COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus,” which contains a standardized definition of “Post COVID-19.” This condition, also known as “long-COVID” and “long-haul-COVID,” commonly occurs after a patient recovers from COVID-19, though it may also occur as an indefinite continuation of COVID-19 symptoms after becoming infected:

Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis. Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction but also others and generally have an impact on everyday functioning. Symptoms may be new onset following initial recovery from an acute COVID-19 episode or persist from the initial illness. Symptoms may also fluctuate or relapse over time.

Publication of this definition represents a continuation of the WHO’s efforts to advance international medical understanding of the long-term effects of COVID-19. This work is supported by the WHO’s Post-COVID Condition Core Outcomes project, which is an international consensus study that is attempting to establish a core outcomes set to inform future clinical trials and clinical care for patients with Post COVID-19.

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On January 13, 2023, a major study authored by Hannah E. Davis, Lisa McCorkell, Julia Moore Vogel, and Eric J. Topol was published in Nature Reviews Microbiology. This study, titled “Long COVID: major findings, mechanisms and recommendations,” provides a comprehensive overview of long COVID and the current understanding of the associated pathophysiology.

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