Regarding the BMG Long COVID Initiative
Long-term consequences of COVID-19 raise concerns for those affected, the medical profession and our society alike. The BMG Long COVID Initiative is a source of reliable information, scientific findings and sources of help.
After the protective measures against Corona were revoked, COVID-19 faded into the background for a majority of people. However, some people are not yet able to return to their normal lives. They are suffering from late effects of the coronavirus infection, the so-called Long COVID syndrome (Link to "What is Long COVID and what is the difference between Long and Post COVID?")
The frequency, symptoms and course of long COVID may vary and in some cases are still rather poorly understood. So far, it is not possible to depict a uniform disease pattern. It seems that there are different forms of Long COVID. It will take more research findings until we can better deal with Long COVID.
"We assume that a substantial proportion of those who fall ill after a corona infection have to deal with Long COVID symptoms. This often means a hard blow for the individual and can even become pertinent for the labour market if the number of sufferers continues to rise."
Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach, Federal Minister of Health
Those suffering from Long COVID are not the only ones who are currently experiencing the effects of the new disease pattern: Doctors and therapists need more information in dealing with the new clinical picture of this disease, researchers are looking for new findings and helpful treatment options, pension and health insurance companies are looking for support options for their insured parties, human resources departments need help in dealing with long-term absences from work, especially for younger people. Friends and relatives are looking for ways to help those affected in their immediate surroundings.
(How) can we approach the topic of Long COVID in the discourse of society as a whole and find solutions for dealing with it appropriately?
The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) launched the BMG Long COVID initiative in July 2023. The initiative is designed to facilitate the process of raising and obtaining awareness, educating the general public about the disease and offering support to those affected.
To this end, the following questions specifically are to be explored with players from all sectors:
- What is Long COVID?
- How does Long COVID affect us as a society
- How do we want to deal with Long COVID as a society and in medicine?
- In addition, there will also be more concrete questions: What can I do if I have Long COVID?
What the BMG's Long COVID Initiative has to offer
We hope that the website will continue expanding in line with the growing body of knowledge about Long COVID. The Timeline shows how much information has been gathered and how different perspectives on Long COVID are presented. The initiative does not necessarily endorse these different contents, but would like to present the diversity of perspectives and problems chronologically.
In the Infobox patients, relatives, employers, employees, doctors and health care providers will find information on the present state of knowledge and research on Long COVID as well as current information on the COVID 19 vaccination and vaccine damage law.
Under the heading Service, among other things, a list of counselling and support services is provided where specific help can be sought on a regional basis. In addition, a telephone service is offered.
The Discourse section is intended to bring together different perspectives on Long COVID and facilitate an open discussion of the topic.
Here you will find important information on how to use and navigate this website:
The infobox provides information about Long COVID as well as possible ways of dealing with it. The messages of the timeline as well as the contributions in the discourse section are intended to depict the process of gathering knowledge especially. It also lists some individual scientific opinions. The studies and analyses cited make no claim to exhaustiveness or definitive validity. Since the process of gaining scientific knowledge is an ongoing process, this website is also continuously reviewed and updated. The information presented here should be viewed with the caveat that it is in a constant process of development.
The website content does not provide medical advice. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.
Background of the initiative
Long COVID is still a fairly new phenomenon for researchers. However, Long COVID has turned into quite a burden and limitation in the daily life of many people, to a greater or lesser extent. In the meantime, it has also become clear that the affectedness extends far beyond the fate of the people with the disease: Long COVID concerns us all and it is up to us as a society to find a common way of dealing with it.
The BMG's Long COVID initiative therefore pursues three main goals:
- It is intended to address the general public in order to raise awareness of the effects of Long COVID.
- It is intended to address those affected: from patients and their relatives to the medical profession and health insurance companies. Preferably, no one should be left out.
- It is intended to collect and communicate new knowledge and the latest scientific findings. Evidence-based information is the core of all messages. That is why the initiative specifically integrates different findings from research.
Explanations of the abbreviations used:
Long COVID refers to the general, long-term health problems after an infection of the Corona virus. These symptoms go beyond the acute illness phase of 4 weeks or arise newly or again after this phase.
Post COVID refers to symptoms, which are still present even after 12 weeks or arise newly or again after a Corona virus infection. The symptoms last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained otherwise. Furthermore, the long haulers are generally affected in everyday life.
SARS-CoV-2 is also called the Corona virus colloquially. It can cause the COVID-19 illness.
COVID-19 is the name of the illness, which is caused by the novel Corona virus. COVID stands for Corona Virus Disease. The illness or rather the causative virus was first described at the end of 2019. Therefore, the abbreviation has the year in it.
SARS-CoV-2 is the technically correct name for the novel Corona virus. SARS is the abbreviation for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The term “Corona virus” is used throughout the text for easier understanding. It means the Corona virus SARS-CoV-2.
CoV is the abbreviation for Corona virus. Corona is the Latin word for crown. The Corona virus gets the name from the crown-shaped spikes on its surface. The spikes are made of the so-called spike proteins. The Corona virus can attach to the body cells with the spike proteins.
Alpha (B.1.1.7), Delta (B.1.617.2), Omicron (B.1.1.529) are the technical names for the variants of the virus. The Corona virus has changed in the course of time. The currently dominant Omicron variant has displaced the other variants such as Delta. The Omicron variant has formed a large number of sub-variants since its emergence, the so-called strains (for example, Omicron BA.1 or Omicron BA.5).