Long covid: where are we, what does it say about our pandemic response, and where next?

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The Office for National Statistics Infection Survey estimated that there were 1.7 million people living with long covid symptoms in the UK as of March 2023. Those infected in 2020 had the highest chance of developing long covid, but people are still developing it following reinfection. Long covid is associated with significant health service use and its economic impact. Research is leading to a better understanding of the physiological mechanisms of long covid, which may offer hope for potential treatments, but there are too few trials and falling interest and funding. Long covid was not included in UK science advice modelling, and the government focused on acute infection outcomes, neglecting the long-term impacts of long covid. Post-viral syndromes should have been considered from the beginning of the pandemic, and their impact should be factored into responses to future pandemics.

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