How to measure improvement in Long COVID identified in an international consensus study

Dec. 4, 2023
Researchers say this will accelerate the understanding of, and the development of treatments for, Long COVID with major global impacts.

Researchers have reached an agreement on how best to measure the severity and impact of Long COVID by identifying a “Core Outcome Measure Set” (COMS).

The research, published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine is co-led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London and in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

The study involved identifying the ways in which Long COVID and its symptoms and impacts have been measured to date, selecting the most popular ones that could be used in all settings and then summarizing and presenting these to a large international group of experts and patients in a series of surveys and then in a final ‘consensus meeting’ to identify, where possible, agreement on what the best measurement instrument (or instruments) are. The surveys used a ‘Delphi technique’ to reach consensus amongst the stakeholders. This is a well-established approach in which participants are asked their opinions in a first round and then shown the results of others and given the chance to rethink their views and this is repeated in subsequent rounds until consensus is achieved.

The researchers are now seeking to publicize these recommendations so that they are adopted by the scientific and clinical communities. Further work is also planned to update the COMS as new data on this new disorder emerges and how best to measure its improvement.

King's College London release on Newswise