EU working towards ‘long Covid’ treatments

BRUSSELS (AFP) – With the EU’s vaccination rollout picking up, the European Commission said Thursday (May 6) it would back a new generation of improved coronavirus treatments, especially for people suffering “long Covid”.

“It’s really crucial that, alongside vaccines, we also step up our work on therapeutics,” EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides told a media conference.

The commission’s strategy aims to build a bigger treatment portfolio going beyond the one medicine that has so far proved effective: the antiviral drug Remdesivir.

“We will aim to, by October, develop and authorise three new effective Covid-19 therapeutics… and another two potentially by the end of the year,” Kyriakides said.

The strategy also looks to boost research and clinical studies and speed up authorisation of medicines in EU member states.

The commission said it will throw €5 million (S$8 million) at clinical trial safety assessments, another €5 million to map treatments being developed and what supply chains they would need, and provide €40 million to support the manufacture of remedies.

Improvements in this area could greatly help the 10 to 15 per cent of people who have survived Covid-19 but who complain of “long Covid”, with symptoms of fatigue, impaired concentration, body pain and breathing and respiratory problems that linger after the infection has gone.

The reasons for such ailments are not clearly understood at this stage, as so much with the coronavirus and its health effects.

But Kyriakides emphasised that, even with vaccinations, Covid is likely to become endemic and “we will have to deal with” it, hopefully by managing and minimising it as we do with the flu.

Related Stories: