Scientific Funding needed to research impact of Long Covid

Seán Sherlock TD
10 February 2021

Speaking during the Labour Party’s Motion on the adoption of a National Aggressive Suppression Strategy, Labour Party Spokesperson on Social Protection, Seán Sherlock TD urged the Government to create a funding pot to fully research the impact of Long COVID and its effect on workers who have recovered initially from the virus.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“We’ve all heard the harrowing stories of those suffering with ‘Long Covid’. While we’re seeing the effects of Long Covid, it hasn’t been classified officially. We don’t know enough about the impact of this and I would ask the Minister and Government to put in place a funding pot to take a cross-departmental approach in researching this, including Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, the Department of Health.

“We’re seeing now the effects of this in  the presentations of other types of illness as a result of people having contracted Covid. The only research that I can speak to in an Irish context that exists at present is the Trinity College in St James’s hospital. They examined 153 patients, concluding that 62% felt that they had not returned to full health.

“Meanwhile, 48% met the case definition for fatigue – which was not associated with severity of initial infection. A number of 153 participants displayed abnormal results of chest x-rays quite a length of time after their initial Covid diagnosis.

“I am asking the Government to adopt a cross-departmental approach to fund research in this area so that our excellent health science experts can commence research to build an evidence-based assessment of Long Covid.

“The Department of Social Protection should also consider providing a payment that recognises the long term impacts of Covid on workers throughout the country, akin to the enhanced benefit or illness benefit payment. Any payment must recognise the specific impact of long Covid as people continue to miss work due to extreme fatigue, heart and lung issues.”  

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