New study says flawed research suggests actual ‘long Covid’ risk may be overstated

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Researchers say that epidemiological studies looking at incidence, prevalence and control have distorted the risks, among other things, by overly broad definitions, lack of appropriate or any comparison group.

He added that this is further complicated by the inclusion of poorly conducted studies in systematic reviews and pooled data analyses, which again overestimates the risk.

Potential consequences of this include, but are not limited to, public concern and increased health care spending; misdiagnosis; And diversion of funds away from people who actually have long-term conditions other than COVID-19 infection, the researchers suggest.

The many effects of COVID-19 infection include post-ICU syndrome – a set of health problems that are present while the patient is in intensive care and that persist after discharge home – and Shortness of breath after pneumonia. The trouble is: Researchers say these are common to many upper respiratory viruses.

Influential health bodies, such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), and the Royal College of General Practitioners have issued guidelines on the treatment of COVID-19 (SARS A causal link is needed between the virus responsible for -CoV2) and a series of symptoms.

Not only should comparison (control) groups be included in longer COVID studies when they often are not, but they should ideally be matched by age, gender, geography, socioeconomic status, and if possible, underlying health and The cases should also be matched appropriately. health behaviors, which they rarely do, researchers say.

During the early stages of the pandemic, when SARS-CoV-2 testing was not widely available, studies attempted to include a non-representative sample of SARS-CoV-2-positive patients by including fewer patients with mild or no symptoms. There was more possibility. ,

This is known as sampling bias, which occurs when some members of a population are more likely to be included in the study sample than others, potentially limiting the generalizability of the study’s findings, The researchers explained.

“Our analysis indicates that, in addition to including appropriately matched controls, there is a need for better case definitions and more rigorous [long COVID] The criteria, which should include persistent symptoms after confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and take into account baseline characteristics, including physical and mental health, that may contribute to a person’s post COVID experience,” they write. , saying that umbrella terms should long-term COVID be dropped in favor of separate terms for specific impacts.

While the results of high-quality population studies on long-term COVID in adults and children have been reassuring, they point out, the main body of research is “full of studies with significant biases,” they Let’s add, which explains the general loss.

He insists, “Ultimately, biomedicine must help all people who suffer. To do this, the best scientific methods and analysis must be applied. Improper definitions and flawed methods do not serve those who suffer. Whom medicine aims to help.”

They include, “Improving the standards of evidence generation is the ideal way to take long-term COVID seriously, improve outcomes, and avoid the risks of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment.”

Research has been published BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine,

more information:
How methodological glitches have led to widespread misunderstanding about Covid for a long time, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine (2023). DOI: 10.1136/bmjbm-2023-112338

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