Long COVID webinar to bring experts together

Evidence is showing that the effects of Long COVID can leave people struggling with perplexing and debilitating symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, joint pain and memory loss, but the true impact of this disease is only being investigated.

RTE’s Philip Boucher Hayes will moderate a panel of experts on the webinar ‘Tackling Long COVID Together’ to inform the general public of recent developments in clinical and research settings as well as in the Long COVID support community.  The purpose of the webinar is to engage meaningfully with the Long COVID community in Ireland with the intention of harnessing the patient experience to help inform clinical pathways and research priorities.

APC Microbiome Ireland, a world leading SFI Research Centre at University College Cork (UCC) and Teagasc will host the webinar at 6pm, Tuesday 28th September.  The purpose of the webinar is to engage meaningfully with the Long COVID community in Ireland with the intention of harnessing the patient experience to help inform clinical pathways and research priorities.

Prof Mary Horgan, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) and member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) for COVID-19 will chair the event. 

APC Director Prof Paul Ross will open the webinar with an explanation on the relevance of the microbiome in Long Covid and overall health. The expert panel will include

●      APC Principal Investigator and University College Cork Prof of Immunology Liam O’Mahony

●      Dr Corinna Sadlier, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Cork University Hospital

●      Dr Nuala O’Connor, Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) lead for COVID-19 

●      Ms Tanja Buwalda, Long Covid Sufferer and representative of ‘Long Covid Support Ireland’.

Dr Corinna Sadlier, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Cork University Hospital, Prof Paul Ross, Director at APC Microbiome Ireland, a world leading SFI Research Centre, Tanja Buwalda, Long COVID sufferer and representative of Long Covid Support Ireland – patient support group and APC Principle Investigator Liam O’Mahony – Prof of Immunology University College Cork who are collaborating on ‘Tackling Long COVID Together’ – a public information webinar about Long COVID taking place 6pm, Tuesday 28th September.

Images have been send to picture desks by Ger McCarthy Photography

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from UCC lead by Prof Liam O’Mahony, Dr Corinna Sadlier and Ms Tanja Buwalda will also launch an online questionnaire in the coming weeks to investigate Long COVID in the Irish population. The survey will look at the spectrum of symptoms, severity, impact on daily function, work, quality of life and return to baseline health.

APC Director Prof Paul Ross said “We currently have a number of research projects investigating potential links between the human microbiome and COVID-19 infection.  A major objective of this research is to  come up with microbiome based biomarkers which can accurately predict susceptibility to the virus and the health consequences which arise post-infection.  This research forms part of a major goal of APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre which aims to elucidate the critical role of having a healthy microbiome in the fight against rapidly evolving infectious viruses and antibiotic resistant pathogenic bacteria”

 “Our research at APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre is showing that SARS-CoV-2 infection not only impacts the lungs, but also influences other body systems such as the digestive system, cardiovascular system, nervous system and immune system. Understanding the basic mechanisms for how viral infection results in these wide range of detrimental effects will be key to us understanding the biology behind Long COVID, and will hopefully provide us new insights for therapy and future prevention.” said APC Principal Investigator & UCC Prof of Immunology Liam O’Mahony

“Long Covid is still unfolding as a challenge for the provision of COVID-19 related-healthcare in Ireland. It is a critical time to discuss with patients the way forward for research, healthcare and for the training of physicians to deal with the unique myriad symptoms experienced by those with long Covid.”  said Prof Mary Horgan, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) and member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) for COVID-19.

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) said: “SFI has worked together with Government Departments, other agencies and the wider research and innovation community, providing support through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Call to solve some of the significant challenges presented by the pandemic. Research into the long-term persistent effects of COVID-19 in some patients has the potential to greatly improve the quality of their lives. Publicly funded research has played a critical role in the national and global response to COVID-19, providing the foundational knowledge for the vaccine programme.  Beyond that, research is exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the mental and physical health of the population, so that we can better inform public health measures and the public’s awareness about the longer-term potential risks.”

The scope and severity of Long COVID is still revealing itself, our survey is a critical piece of work that will quantify how numerous the sufferers are and how impacted their lives are. Once we have a collection of data gathered we will be in a far stronger position to ask for key resources from the HSE.” said Ms Tanja Buwalda representative of ‘Long Covid Support Ireland’.  

We are seeing large numbers of patients with a broad range of debilitating symptoms being referred irrespective of severity of initial SARS-Co-V2 infection. There remain many unknowns in terms of prolonged health consequences, spectrum of recovery as well as the underlying mechanisms of Long COVID. We are still very much learning in terms of how clinicians, scientists and patients can best manage this condition.

Dr Corinna Sadlier, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Cork University Hospital.

The event will highlight the importance of overall health and wellbeing as well as the role of the microbiome and its pertinence in relation to Long COVID. The panel will provide insights into how Long COVID has presented a unique opportunity for precision medicine and engaged research to be implemented by design in the roll out of Long COVID solutions and treatment programmes.

Registration now for webinar ‘Tackling Long COVID Together’ https://conference.ucc.ie/tackling-long-covid-together/long-covid/Site/Register

WCP Staff

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