Long COVID round table – April 2024

At the invitation of the Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach, experts, representatives of the parties concerned and key players from the healthcare sector met in Berlin on 16th April 2024. The focus this time was on the new Long COVID guideline of the Joint Federal Committee (G-BA), on the funding of care-related research by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and further research by the Federal Government, on the planned measures to improve the care of children and adolescents with Long COVID, and on the work of the expert group on Long COVID Off-Label Use.

The photo shows Federal Minister of Health Prof Dr Karl Lauterbach at the third round table

Long COVID round table – April 2024

After the first two Long COVID round tables in September and December 2023, the Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach continued the dialogue on the topic of Long COVID with experts from the fields of medicine, science, business and politics as well as representatives of the parties concerned. On the basis of previous discussions and the positive response, the third round table addressed current developments in the area of care and research. The discussion was moderated once again by the Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach.

The photo shows Federal Minister of Health Prof Dr Karl Lauterbach at the press conference for the third round table.

Dialogue on the best possible care continued

Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach emphasised in his opening remarks: “Long COVID will be with us for a long time to come. There is still a great need for research into post-COVID and Long COVID symptoms and their needs-based care”. 

Judith Pirscher, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), gave an overview of the funding activities of her ministry and explained how these are interlinked with those of the BMG. She emphasised the need to further strengthen the existing commitment and to network the parties involved even more closely. 

Federal Minister of Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach provided information on the current funding announcement of the BMG on Long COVID care-related research and its four modules (model projects, care innovation, care research projects, networking centre). He also emphasised that ME/CFS can also be investigated as part of these funding programmes, even without prior COVID-19 disease. Projects on complaints temporally related to COVID-19 vaccination are also eligible to apply for funding. The objective of the funding programmes is to offer coordinated care throughout Germany, including diagnostics and specific therapy. 

The round table also focused on the Long COVID guideline of the G-BA, which was adopted on 21st December 2023. This guideline is intended to ensure needs-based care in case of suspected diseases such as Long COVID or ME/CFS. Participants in the round table discussed how the framework conditions set out in the guideline can be implemented in the care. In particular, the future role of General Practitioners in the coordination of diagnostics and therapy for needs-based care was discussed. There was also a discussion about further education and training for the medical fraternity on diseases such as Long COVID and ME/CFS. 

The work of the expert group on Long COVID Off-Label Use at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) was also reported on. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wörmann, Chairman of the expert group, reported at the constituent meeting in December 2023 and outlined the current status and the next steps. 

A panel of experts met at the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) in March 2024 to improve the care of children and adolescents suffering from Long COVID and post-COVID. Prof. Dr. Uta Behrends from the Centre for Child and Adolescent Medicine at the Technical University of Munich explained the great relevance of networking the relevant parties. She emphasised the great importance of research into the optimal care of children and adolescents so that this can also be implemented in practice. With regard to the care of children and adolescents, the participants also referred to the special requirements of the transition phase from adolescence to adulthood. The best possible transition from paediatrician to family doctor must be organised in this phase. 

The round table once again provided space for the exchange of perspectives from self-administration, science, and the parties concerned and practitioners, and enabled discussion of current developments and approaches to improving the care of people affected by Long COVID. 

More information

BMG funding announcement on the topic of “Researching and strengthening of a needs-based care for the long-term consequences of COVID-19 (Long COVID)”:  

Information of the G-BA on the Long COVID guideline:   

Information on the expert group on Long COVID Off-Label-Use at the BfArM: 

Dr. Susanne Armbruster, Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (KBV)

Prof. Dr. Uta Behrends, Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin, Klinikum Rechts der Isar der TUM

Dr. Natalie Brall, Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS)

Christina Breit, Bundeskanzleramt

Dr. Katrin Bräutigam, Bundesärztekammer (BÄK)

Prof. Dr. Folke Brinkmann, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin (DGKJ)

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

Dr. Roland Elling, Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg (UKF)

Erkan Etan, Arbeitsstab Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für die Belange der Patientinnen und Patienten

Dr. Antje Gottberg, GKV-Spitzenverband (GKV-SV)

Dr. Michael Hubmann, Berufsverband der Kinder- und Jugendärzt*innen e.V. 

Prof. Dr. Volker Köllner, DRV Klinikum Seefeld

Elena Lierck, NichtGenesenKids

Karin Maag, Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss (G-BA)

Dr. Thomas Maibaum, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allgemeinmedizin und Familienmedizin (DEGAM)

Dr. Matthias Meergans, Verband forschender Arzneimittelhersteller (vfa)

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

Ricarda Piepenhagen, NichtGenesen 

Judith Pirscher, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Jana Ruhrländer, Post-Vac-Syndrom Deutschland e.V. 

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

Prof. Dr. Carmen Scheibenbogen, Institut für Medizinische Immunologie, Charité Berlin

Dr. Nicole Schlottmann, Deutsche Krankenhausgesellschaft e.V. 

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schieffer, Klinik für Kardiologie, Angiologie und internistische Intensivmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Gießen und Marburg

Prof. Dr. Silke Schmidt-Schuchert, Lehrstuhl Gesundheit und Prävention, Universität Greifswald

Prof. Dr. Christian P. Strassburg, Medizinische Klinik I (Innere Medizin), Universitätsklinikum Bonn

Johanna Theobald, Long Covid Deutschland

Nadine Ton, Post-Vac-Netzwerk

Prof. Dr. Martin Walter, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Uniklinik Jena

Prof. Dr. Martin Witzenrath, Klinik für Pneumologie, Beatmungsmedizin und Intensivmedizin, Charité Berlin

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Wörmann, Vorsitz Expertengruppe Long COVID Off-Label-Use

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