Long Covid is defined as new, returning or lingering symptoms after an initial Covid-19 infection. As the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States, the Department of Veterans Affairs has launched several initiatives to study and treat the long-term effects of Covid-19 on veterans.
- Dr. Carolyn Clancy, assistant under secretary for health for discovery, education and affiliate networks at VHA, said VA researchers are analyzing large volumes of electronic health record data and said many facilities have set up long Covid programs.
- Clancy said the VA is partnering with the Defense Department to track long-term symptoms in a group of people, working closely with the National Institutes of Health and sharing research findings with the broader scientific community.
- She said there is not yet an exact definition of long Covid, which has presented a challenge, or a clearly defined scientific community interested in studying it, which could lead to redundant efforts.
- Clancy said approximately 615,000 veterans have gotten Covid and about 4-7% of those have developed long Covid.
- She said the VA is focusing on responding to symptoms in veterans with long Covid, keeping a close eye on cardiac and mental health symptoms.