WHO to develop 'agreed clinical description' for long COVID-19 diagnosis

The World Health Organization is working to establish a clinical description for the lingering symptoms, known as long-COVID, some people experience months after being cleared of their initial COVID-19 illness, CNBC reported Feb. 13. 

WHO recently held a global meeting that involved "patients, clinicians and other stakeholders" to gain a clearer picture of long-COVID, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the organization's director-general, said during a Feb. 12 news conference. 

The global meeting was the first in a series of upcoming meetings which will focus on "working towards an agreed clinical description of the condition," Dr. Tedros said. WHO also released a case reporting form meant to standardize data collection on post-COVID, he added. 

CNBC cited research published in The Lancet in early January that found 76 percent of COVID-19 patients discharged from a hospital in Wuhan, China, reported at least one symptom six months after the initial illness. The most commonly reported symptoms were fatigue or muscle weakness, sleep difficulties, and anxiety or depression, according to the research. 

"There's a question of whether this is something that's unique to COVID itself — and it's the COVID virus that's triggering these symptoms — or if this could be part of a general post-viral syndrome," Allison Navis, MD, a professor at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, said during a Feb. 12 call with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, CNBC reports. 

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