WHO issues new clinical advice for coronavirus patients, plans to study ‘long COVID’
Nearly a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) first declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency, the agency has issued new clinical advice for both at-home and hospitalized treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The agency also announced forthcoming plans to study so-called “long-COVID” or otherwise called “COVID long-haulers” who continue to suffer from symptoms well after the infection is gone.
“Understanding this condition is one of WHO’s priority areas of work,” the agency said, in a news release posted Tuesday. “In February 2021, WHO will organize a series of consultations to reach consensus on a description of this condition and its subtypes, and case definitions. The scientific understanding will inform the name of the condition. The consultations will include a broad range of stakeholders, including patient groups.”
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Meanwhile, for current patients who do not require hospitalization, WHO is recommending using pulse oximetry to measure oxygen levels in the blood. The over-the-counter products should be “coordinated with other aspects of home care, such as education for the patent and care provider and regular follow-up of the patient.”
For those who require hospitalization, the agency suggests health care providers consider using low-dose anticoagulants to prevent blood clots, as well as placing patients who receive non-invasive supplemental oxygen on their stomachs to increase oxygen flow.
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The agency noted the guidelines are “a living document, updated regularly as more data becomes available.” The update comes on the same day WHO announced it was working with Moderna to accelerate approval for its COVID-19 shot for emergency use listing.