Social affairs Korean government to begin three-year study on long Covid

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Korean government to begin three-year study on long Covid
People line up at a Covid-19 testing center in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Sunday, as cases again passed 10,000. [NEWS1]
People line up at a Covid-19 testing center in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Sunday, as cases again passed 10,000. [NEWS1]
 
Korea will begin research on long Covid by conducting follow-up studies of 10,000 people who were infected of Covid-19 over three years.
 
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s National Institute of Health (NIH) on Sunday announced a research and development (R&D) project on the aftereffects of Covid-19.
 
The project will be conducted in three ways, based on clinical studies, big data and translational research.
 
A total of 10,000 Covid-19 patients, including children, will be designated as cohorts whom the government will closely monitor for up to three years to observe the lasting symptoms of the coronavirus, or long Covid.
 
According to domestic health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO), long Covid refers to Covid-19 cases in which symptoms show up within three months after first being diagnosed, continue for at least two months and cannot be explained by other diseases.
 
More than 200 symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, fever, shortness of breath, hair loss, depression and anxiety, palpitations, menstrual cycle changes and muscle pain have been reported as long Covid symptoms.
 
While the majority of Covid-19 patients recover in the short term, about 20 percent of patients are said to have experienced various symptoms in the mid- to long-term.
 
The project is aimed at analyzing the developmental pattern of the aftereffects of Covid-19 through three years of monitoring and investigation and finding factors such as underlying diseases that influence the development of long Covid. With the results, the government plans to draw up guidelines for the management of the symptoms and further prepare for future infectious diseases.
 
Sunday's announcement is the realization of the government's previously mentioned plans to conduct a large-scale investigation of long Covid on 10,000 people.
 
The NIH plans to recruit participating research institutes by July 11 and begin the study at the end of August.
 
Korea is seeing a rebound in Covid-19 cases, and health authorities warn of a resurgence of infections ahead of summer vacation.
 
The daily tally recorded 10,059 new cases, government data showed Sunday, remaining over 10,000 for two days in a row despite being on a weekend, after staying in the four digits since June 10. The country's accumulative total stands at 18,389,611.
 
Sunday’s tally rose by 61.2 percent from a week ago, or by 65.8 percent from two weeks ago.
 
Health officials believe the continued decline in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks has reached its limit, and say cases are likely to increase and decrease in waves.
 
The number of imported cases climbed to 191, staying above 100 for ten days in a row due to eased quarantine rules and an increase in international flights.
 
Starting July 1, residents in Korea are able to prove their Covid-19 vaccination status in European Union countries through the COOV app, following a mutual agreement reached between the government and the EU. COOV is Korea’s mobile application to keep track of Covid-19 vaccination records.
 
With the agreement, Korea now also recognizes the vaccinations and testing verifications under the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EU DCC).
 
The Korean COOV app is now considered equivalent to the EU DCC in 27 EU member states, as well as Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]
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