According to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, offers of help for people with long-term impairments after corona infections are getting better and better. A comprehensive network of experts is slowly building up, which is improving care, said the SPD politician after a round table on Long Covid with representatives from science and healthcare on Tuesday in Berlin. This is “really a turning point.” At the same time, there were tenders worth millions for research funding. The use of soothing medications outside of the approval should be easier in the future.

Lauterbach said: “The problem of Long Covid is unsolved.” It can be assumed that there are half a million people affected in Germany. With each wave of infections, new ones could emerge, including omicron virus variants. There is still no cure for many forms of Long Covid. This refers to sometimes severe symptoms such as exhaustion or shortness of breath that persist or occur again after an acute illness phase of four weeks. Post Covid describes the clinical picture more than twelve weeks after infections.

The head of the immunodeficiency clinic at the Berlin Charité, Carmen Scheibebogen, said that diagnoses and care are a big challenge. Some of those affected do not go to doctors, doctors do not feel responsible, and therapies are sometimes unknown. A guideline from the Federal Joint Committee of doctors, health insurance companies and clinics is also intended to ensure care. Among other things, it provides for a single contact person instead of the usual odyssey for those affected, as committee member Karin Maag said. As a rule, this is the family doctor’s practice, which is then supposed to coordinate a treatment plan with further specialist treatments.

Lauterbach said that Long Covid would also be a problem for the labor market if those affected were permanently absent. These often include younger women. The focus is also on better support for children with Long Covid. Scheibenbogen explained that there were also many other respiratory infections this winter. Longer-lasting symptoms could also develop afterwards.

The minister pointed out several funding programs totaling around 150 million for healthcare research in the coming years. This puts Germany in a leading position in Europe.