It is no shock to state that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare and public interest. While some contract this disease and remain unaffected and asymptomatic, others can become hospitalized or retain symptoms for months to years. The pharmaceutical industry has made great efforts to release and continuously develop optimally effective vaccines. Likewise, advancements in COVID-19 treatment have also remained a priority in the field of drug development. Although treatment during the first 2 weeks of contracting COVID-19 is crucial in severe cases, understanding the etiology and course of long COVID-19 symptoms remains a difficult area to predict and prevent.
In a recent article, outlining the face of long COVID-19 treatment to date, it was found that most long COVID-19 clinical trials focus on individual symptoms of the disease with broad categories to define them. These categories include general classifications within the body systems that are affected such as cardiovascular, respiratory, olfactory, neurological, and psychological dysfunctions. As a result, most clinical trials seeking to develop long COVID-19 treatment specifically targeted the individual mechanism related to the system affected. However, upon deeper review of current clinical trials, it was also noted that these trials did not demonstrate adequate internal and external validity, which caused the implications for the public to be limited at best. Consequently, it is argued that increased standardization to the diagnostic inclusion criteria for cardiometabolic conditions should be considered to address this gap (Chee et al., 2023).
Although COVID-19 seemed to enter the world of medicine and public health quickly, it appears evident that it will persist as a significant area of interest for much longer. With new strains of the disease continuing to infect the population, new vaccines and treatments are incredibly attractive to the world of clinical research. It is necessary, then, that clinical trials seek to maximize generalizability to the public to achieve the greatest impact. This is why more studies with greater understanding of the disease, population comorbidities, and diagnostic standardization may prove to be the vital next step in creating lasting solutions.
Chee, Y. J., Fan, B. E., Young, B. E., Dalan, R., & Lye, D. C. (2023). Clinical trials on the pharmacological treatment of long COVID: A systematic review. Journal of Medical Virology, 95(1), e28289. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.28289