Health Ministry invests €32 million in Long Covid research
Minister Ernst Kuipers (Public Health) is allocating an additional 32 million euros for research into Long Covid and a so-called "competence network" to ensure that effective treatments reach patients and healthcare workers as quickly as possible. The minister believes too little is known about the symptoms that continue long after a coronavirus infection.
The amount released will be spent from 2023 to 2026. Part of it will go toward a research program being launched by research funder ZonMw. The goal is to find out more about persistent symptoms after the infection with the coronavirus. ZonMw is still conducting an inventory of what findings are missing and therefore require additional research.
The research will "hopefully" lead to "answers that people with post-covid and their loved ones are eagerly waiting for," Kuipers said in a video posted on Twitter. "These symptoms can be very varied, severe, and also long-lasting."
Er is nog veel onduidelijk over post-COVID. Ik vind het belangrijk om patiënten perspectief te bieden. Daarom start er een nationaal expertisenetwerk en een meerjarig onderzoeksprogramma, waarvoor €32 miljoen extra beschikbaar wordt gesteld.— Ernst Kuipers (@ministerVWS) June 1, 2023
➡️ https://t.co/UZp4Di81Va pic.twitter.com/9Nn2EQFRuf
Kuipers also called on ZonMw to build the expert network. This aims to ensure that knowledge about Long Covid is better shared between researchers and other professionals working on it. The C-Support Network and the Dutch Federation of University Hospitals (NFU) are also helping to implement this plan.
The minister has previously stated that he is against a national registry of people with Long Covid. This is difficult because there is no clear definition of Long Covid sufferers, Kuipers said during a debate in May. He sees it as an additional burden on family physicians, who already have a lot on their plate, he shared. The Social Impact Team (MIT), on the other hand, believes it could be very valuable.
Reporting by ANP