With millions of people in the United States experiencing post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), also known as long-haul COVID, and millions more expected to suffer from the condition, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy during the Special Meeting of its House of Delegates aimed at improving the assessment, diagnosis, and awareness of post viral syndromes.
Specifically, the new policy calls for the AMA to advocate for legislation to provide funding for research, prevention, control, and treatment of post viral syndromes and long-term sequelae associated with viral infections, such as COVID-19. Under the policy, the AMA will provide physicians and medical students with accurate and current information on post-viral syndromes and collaborate with other medical and educational entities to promote education among patients about post viral syndromes--helping minimize the harm and disability current and future patients face.
"There is much we still don't know about COVID-19 and while many people with COVID-19 recover in the weeks following illness, we're seeing patients experiencing symptoms that either last, or appear, many weeks or months after becoming infected," said AMA Board Member Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, M.D. "Yet, our country currently lacks the necessary resources to adequately support and provide expert care to patients with long-haul COVID. That's why we must continue following the science and conducting research so we can better understand the short and long-term health impacts of this novel illness."
The new policy aims to improve the clinical definitions of post viral syndromes and identify the evidence necessary to appropriately assess all conditions and organ systems affected, as well as the associated behavioral health conditions. According to recent publications, 10-30% of individuals who had COVID-19 reported at least one persistent symptom six months after their infection was cleared. Individuals with long-haul COVID may experience varied and chronic symptoms including neurologic, cognitive, cardiopulmonary, constitutional, musculoskeletal, psychiatric, and mobility impairments. Ongoing and future long-haul COVID research results, that are inclusive of all populations, including people with disabilities and underlying health conditions, are needed in real-time to support providers through rapid development and widespread dissemination of best practices for long-haul COVID care.