The outpatient clinic for long-term effects of COVID-19 opened in June 2021. A cohort study of long Covid was launched at the same time.

An outpatient clinic dedicated to the care of long Covid patients opened last summer. Patients at this outpatient clinic have been invited to join a cohort study to monitor the prognosis and symptoms of the disease and the patients’ functional capacity. The outpatient clinic is also launching a self-care study, with subjects randomly compared in three groups.

In this randomized controlled experiment, two self-care programs and ordinary outpatient care are compared with each other in the sense that ordinary care is given to all three groups but two of them use the self-care programs in addition. 

“Long Covid is considered a multi-factor disorder consisting of damage done by the virus, eventual autoimmune reactions and dysfunction of the central nervous system. The purpose of the cohort study is to gain an understanding of the disease and its prognosis, of the patients’ working and functional capacity and of the natural progress of the disease,” says Head Physician Helena Liira.

Potential for many kinds of research

The scientific research initiated with the opening of the outpatient clinic facilitates multiple research angles and further studies. The multi-discipline network of scientists includes physicians and a psychologist at the outpatient clinic, specialists in infectious diseases and other specialties, as well as virologists from the University of Helsinki. 

“We applied for EU funding, which was a lot of work but also brought enormous potential. If we are granted funding, we will be able to study the mechanism of this disease, such as the brain-gut connection, genetics, proteins and lipids. Additional funding would open up a wealth of possibilities,” says Liira.

Collaboration between practical clinicians and basic research, i.e. scientists studying the mechanism of the disease, is important for the study of long Covid. 

“We submitted a joint funding application, which brought us closer together in cooperation and expanded our horizons, and this has also helped us in caring for our patients,” says Liira.

Further information (available only in Finnish):

Koronavirusinfektion jälkioireista kärsiviä on paljon – poliklinikan toiminta käynnistyy vaiheittain

Koronavirusinfektion pitkäaikaisoireiden poliklinikan toiminta käynnistynyt sujuvasti