Second long COVID round table - December 2023

Following the positive response to the first Long COVID round table, Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach once again invited people to Berlin to continue the dialogue. The second round table, which took place on 4th December 2023, focused on the discussion of four key topics, which also emerged from the evaluation of the results of the first round table. 

Round table Long COVID – Dezember 2023

In summer 2023, the Federal Ministry of Health launched the "BMG Long COVID Initiative" with the aim of supporting the scientific and societal knowledge process on this new clinical picture and providing reliable information.  

The first round table on 12 September 2023 also laid the foundation for a constructive exchange on the topic. Experts from the fields of medicine, science, business and politics met with patient representatives to discuss relevant problems and solutions for the care of long COVID patients. This link provides a look back at the first round table.

Building on the positive feedback from the first meeting, the dialogue was continued. The second long COVID round table, which took place on 4 December 2023, focused on the topics of research, participation, medication and rehabilitation, which also emerged from the evaluation of the results of the first round table. A new combination of guests offered the opportunity to delve deeper into the contents of individual topics and open up space for further perspectives. 

Open dialogue for the best possible care 

Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach opened the round table and emphasised that research into Long COVID is important and should continue to be supported financially. This research will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) - subject to the final confirmation of the 2024 budget by Parliament - with a total of 80 million euros over several years. In this case, an additional 50 million euros would also be available for measures for children and adolescents with Long COVID. The G-BA's innovation fund will also support healthcare research into post-viral symptom complexes such as Post/Long COVID or ME/CFS with up to 20 million euros.  

Ms. Pirscher, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), presented the BMBF's funding activities on post-acute effects of infection, in particular on Long COVID and ME/CFS. She reported that the BMBF spends considerable funds on fundamental research and also on scientific projects on data issues relating to these diseases. 

On the subject of research, leading German scientists then presented the current state of research and new research approaches. Among other things, the guests discussed the significance of persistence of the virus, i.e. the survival of virus components after the end of the acute infection. This must be analysed in detail to determine the extent to which it is relevant for the development of Long COVID. The importance of researching biomarkers to improve the diagnosis and treatment of Long COVID was also discussed.  Stratification, i.e. the formation of subgroups of affected persons, is essential for further targeted research. 

A central aspect of the discussion on the topic of medicines was how to improve the supply of medicines to those affected, as no medicines are currently authorised for the treatment of Long COVID and results from clinical trials are still pending. In particular, the establishment of an expert group on Long COVID Off Label Use at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) plays a key role here. This group of experts will hold its inaugural meeting later this year.  

The guests also discussed the importance of rehabilitation and the progress that has already been made, as well as the latest study results. Dr. Schmachtenberg, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) gave an overview of the situation and the frequency of rehabilitation measures and reduced earning capacity pensions in the case of Long COVID. The experts present emphasised that rehabilitation must be tailored to the patient's symptoms and that there are already various rehabilitation concepts for this. The overarching question was how the affected persons can be supported in the best possible way to regain their ability to cope with everyday life and work, and how the affected persons with so-called stress intolerance can be helped to do so.  

A particularly important aspect of the thematic discussion was the perspective of the affected persons and their experiences in the different living environments. Special attention was paid to the needs of children and adolescents at various points in the discussion. Their specific needs require separate consideration - be it in the area of medication or rehabilitation. 

The event once again provided a platform for constructive exchange of interdisciplinary ideas, presentation of research findings and discussion of new therapeutic approaches.  


Press conference on the second round table on 4 December 2023

Video length: 7:39 min

Watch Press conference
Bundesgesundheitsminister Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach auf einer Pressekonferenz zum zweiten Runden Tisch
Bundesgesundheitsminister Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach auf einer Pressekonferenz zum zweiten Runden Tisch

Prof. Dr. Karl Broich, Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM)

Mia Diekow, Long COVID Deutschland (LCD)

PD Dr. Roland Elling, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg (UKF)

Benedikt Ewald, Deutscher Behindertensportverband (DBS)

Dr. Sabine Gehrke-Beck, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allgemeinmedizin und Familienmedizin (DEGAM)

Dr. Antje Gottberg, GKV-Spitzenverband (GKV)

Dr. Brigitte Gross, Deutsche Rentenversicherung (DRV)

Dr. Jutta Hundertmark-Mayser, Nationale Kontakt- und Informationsstelle zur Anregung und Unterstützung von Selbsthilfegruppen (NAKOS)

Dr. Stefan Hussy, Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV)

Vera Knieps, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Rehabilitation (DEGEMED)

Prof. Dr. Volker Köllner, Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund Rehazentrum Seehof (DRV Rehazentrum Seehof)

Prof. Dr. Martin Korte, Technische Universität Braunschweig (TU Braunschweig)

Bernd Kronauer, Leiter der Geschäftsstelle der Bevollmächtigten der Bundesregierung für Pflege

Prof. Dr. Clara Lehmann, Uniklinik Köln (UK Köln)

Elena Lierck, Nicht genesen Kids (NgK)

Karin Maag, Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss (G-BA)

Jasmin Maschke, Bundeskanzleramt (BKAmt)

Dr. Matthias Meergans, Verband forschender Arzneimittelhersteller (vfa)

Mareike Mitschele, NichtGenesen

Sebastian Musch, Deutsche Gesellschaft für ME/CFS e.V.

Prof. Dr. Eva Peters, Universitätsklinikum Gießen und Marburg (UKGM)

Anja Piel, Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB)

Judith Pirscher, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

PD Dr. Anett Reißhauer, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité)

Dr. Giselle Sarganas Margolis, Robert Koch-Institut (RKI)

Prof. Dr. Lars Schaade, Robert-Koch-Institut (RKI)

Prof. Dr. Carmen Scheibenbogen, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité)

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schieffer, Universitätsklinikum Gießen und Marburg (UKGM)

Dr. Rolf Schmachtenberg, Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS)

Prof. Dr. Jochen Schmitt, Universitätsklinikum Dresden

Dr. Pablo Serrano, Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie e.V. (BPhD e.V.)

Prof. Dr. Christian P. Strassburg, Universitätsklinikum Bonn (UK Bonn)

Prof. Dr. Jörg Janne Veherschild, Universitätsklinikum Köln (UK Köln)

Dr. Susanne Wagenmann, Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände (BDA)

Dr. Teresia Widera, Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft für Rehabilitation e.V. (BAR e.V.)

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wörmann, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité)

Back to overview