Coronavirus: ongoing work

Together with the cantons and other players, we are working to ensure that people with post COVID-19 condition receive appropriate treatment and support and that research is conducted into this subject. An overview is given here of the ongoing work in this field.

The political framework for activities related to post COVID-19 condition is provided by Postulate 21.3014 (in German and French) and Motion 21.3453 (in German and French).

Interdisciplinary advisory group

An interdisciplinary advisory group was set up in autumn 2021 to support the work being conducted into post COVID-19 condition. Its members include affected persons, primary care providers, specialist doctors, rehabilitation professionals and researchers. The group also takes in representatives of the Swiss Medical Association (FMH), insurers, the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (CMPH), the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) and the FOPH. The aim of the advisory group is to clarify the situation in Switzerland, identify gaps, discuss measures and instigate the implementation of these measures.

Regular meetings have been held since the start of November 2021. The initial results of this work are the activities involved in compiling recommendations for primary care providers. The discussions conducted on different topics are additionally being continuously channelled into a situation and needs analysis.

Situation and needs analysis with regard to care

At the request of the Federal Council, we are examining the situation and care of patients with post COVID-19 condition. The results will be set out in a postulate report that is currently being compiled. The aim is to identify gaps and problems in care and its financing and, on this basis, derive recommendations for the measures required.

We have commissioned a situation and needs analysis to this end that is looking into the care situation with regard to family doctors, specialised points of contact and rehabilitation options. The survey also covers self-help offerings and takes into account the perspectives and experiences of affected people and healthcare professionals. A list of specialist consultation sessions and rehabilitation options has been compiled by way of the first interim result. This is posted on the web page of the same name.

Recommendations for primary care providers

No uniform recommendations have so far been drawn up in Switzerland for the diagnosis and treatment of post COVID-19 condition. This makes it difficult to provide effective care for those affected. In March 2022, the FOPH and Swiss Medical Association (FMH) organised a broad-based conference with representatives from the professional societies, family doctors, healthcare professionals, affected persons, scientists, insurers and public authorities. The conference enabled participants to exchange knowledge and make preparations for drawing up nationwide recommendations regarding the diagnosis and treatment of post COVID-19 condition. These recommendations are being compiled by an expert committee as of autumn 2022. They are aimed at family doctors providing primary care and are intended to ensure that affected persons receive a rapid diagnosis, are provided with optimum care and, if necessary, are referred for specialised measures. The FOPH is providing financial and organisational support for the project.

Research

Significant gaps still exist in our knowledge of the causes and effective treatment options for post COVID-19 condition. We are therefore supporting various research projects in Switzerland. The following studies are addressing research questions related to post COVID-19 condition or are looking into these as a sub-aspect of their research question.

Lung damage in long COVID

A prospective study to evaluate the pulmonary and extrapulmonary long-term effects of COVID-19.

Currently: Persistent lung damage after Covid-19 (unibe.ch)

Ciao Corona

A prospective population and school-based study to determine, among other things, symptom characterisation, course and risk constellations for long-term effects in children and adolescents.

Ciao-Corona

Corona Immunitas

A programme studying the development of immunity in the Swiss population. It is also recording the prevalence of post COVID-19 condition after Omicron.

Corona Immunitas (corona-immunitas.ch)

SEROCoV-KIDS (in French)

A cohort for monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the mental and physical health, the development and the general wellbeing of children and youth.

Etude SEROCoV-KIDS | Plateforme de la recherche (hug.ch)

ZSAC

A Zurich coronavirus cohort study determining long-term clinical outcomes and immune responses following a coronavirus infection.

E7 Zurich Coronavirus Cohort Study (corona-immunitas.ch)

You can find other studies being conducted on post COVID-19 condition in Switzerland by entering keywords in the register of research projects in Switzerland (RAPS) or, in the case of clinical trials, in the Swiss National Clinical Trials Portal SNCTP.

Literature search

Knowledge about post COVID-19 condition is currently developing at a rapid pace. The Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) has been commissioned by the FOPH to conduct regular searches of the current literature and to draw up extensive summaries on different COVID-19 topics.

You will find all the literature searches relating to post COVID-19 on the Science and Research page.

Funding programme for COVID-19 medicines

As part of the Funding programme for COVID-19 medicines we are helping to fund the development of four medicines. This programme is supporting the development of potentially important medicines for combating COVID-19. One of the projects selected is developing monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of post COVID-19 condition in patients suffering severe neuropsychiatric symptoms.

You will find further information in the press release: Federal government signs four contracts for the development of COVID-19 medicines.

Data on post COVID-19 condition

A number of options have been examined for recording cases of post COVID-19 condition. It has become clear that it will not be possible to set up a mandatory register. This is due first and foremost to the wide range of clinical pictures and to the symptom changes that occur over time, as well as to the lack of a legal basis. We are working instead on opening up existing data sources and making these available. The corresponding results will be published promptly.

Registrations with the Invalidity Insurance (IV) are already being monitored with the results being made available by the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO).

Media

Links

Postulate 21.3014 – Ensuring suitable treatment and rehabilitation for people with long COVID (in French, German and Italian)

Motion 21.3453 – Scientific monitoring of cases of long COVID (in French, German and Italian)

Last modification 20.10.2022

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