University of Manitoba Team Receives $ 202,000 Grant to Study ‘Long COVID’ – Winnipeg | The Canadian News

A team of researchers from the University of Manitoba received a $ 202,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study what is known as “long-distance COVID.”

Research on the loosely defined condition is still in its infancy, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently settled on a definition.

“The post-COVID-19 condition,” says the WHO, “occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, generally three months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and lasting at least two months and it cannot be explained with an alternative diagnosis. “

The WHO says that common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, and cognitive dysfunction, but can include other problems that generally affect a person’s everyday life.

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The principal investigator for the University of Manitoba is Alan Katz, director of the Manitoba Center for Health Policy and professor of family medicine and community health sciences.

“My concern is that the impact of COVID is being considered primarily in the context of hospital bed occupancy and ICU bed occupancy,” says Katz.

“This (study) tries to understand what is to come in the next six months or years around what our health system will face the more these people who have had a COVID infection can move on to a prolonged COVID.”

Katz says his research has three main goals.

The team wants to understand what proportion of people who had COVID-19 eventually end up with “prolonged COVID,” who is most likely to be affected, and exactly what symptoms people are experiencing.

Katz says that the literature that has been published so far varies widely in terms of these questions and, in particular, how many people are affected.

“Some people say it’s 10 percent, others say it’s up to 50 percent,” says Katz.

“Clearly, that is an important question for us to understand if we are planning our health care system. In Manitoba, we have had more than 65,000 infections; in Canada, more than 1.7 million COVID infections. It makes a big difference if 10 percent of those people have consequences or up to 50 percent. “

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Manitoba is in a unique position to be able to study these research questions, Katz says, because of an anonymous database called the Manitoba Population Research Database “that includes information on each and every Manitoba citizen who they have contact with the health care system. “

“With this very complex database, we can look at people who have tested positive for COVID for the first time. We can start examining them three months after the initial infection and we can follow them, ”explains Katz.

The team just received their ethics approval to be able to access the database, and Katz expects the team to have the other permissions it needs in place within a week or so to begin the painstaking work of reviewing the large amount. of information.

The funding the team received will allow for a one-year study. Katz says the work is crucial to getting a sense of the long-standing COVID-19 implications for people’s health, and what the healthcare system could face months or years from now.

“As this continues, there will be more and more, and potentially they will invade our long-term healthcare system with the need for rehabilitation services, (and) with the need for treatment of respiratory problems,” says Katz.

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“We are potentially missing a large part of the impact of the COVID infection.”

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