e 36M Europeans Are Suffering From Long COVID | Welltodo

36M Europeans Are Suffering From Long COVID

1 in 30 Europeans suffer from Long COVID, and startups believe they can solve it.

What’s happening: The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that 36M Europeans may be experiencing Long COVID.

In a statement, WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, said that while it’s no longer a public health emergency, it’s thwarting good health worldwide:

“Long COVID remains a complex condition we still know very little about. Nearly 36 million people across the WHO European Region may have experienced long COVID in the first 3 years of the pandemic.”

The Long Game

By definition, COVID-19 becomes Long COVID when the patient experiences new symptoms after three months, but it remains notoriously difficult to diagnose.

While the most widespread symptoms include fatigue (both physical and mental), neurological dysfunction (brain fog) and cardio-respiratory distress (coughing and chest pain), ~30% suffer from ear-nose-throat (ENT) symptoms, sleep disorders, menstrual issues, libido complications and digestive problems.

On top of that, 200+ symptoms “qualify”, ranging from joint pain and rashes to depression and anxiety.

High price. Curiously, most affected are adolescent girls, women aged 25–69, and the physically inactive — meaning the majority of the population is at risk.

Already strained, treating its symptoms reactively carries a heavy economic burden, costing the UK £2.5B annually, while the US predicts $3.5T over five years.

Startup Solutions

Backed-up medical systems and myriad symptoms leave many struggling in isolation, catalysing the emergence of treatments from promising startups:

  • Visible and Pathize (fka Jupiter) subjectively measure and track Long COVID to better understand triggers for fatigue.
  • nyra health (fka myReha) offers AI-enabled cognition exercises, rehabbing patients with brain fog and other cognitive disorders.
  • MyAdvocate by RAIsonance provides AI-assisted cough analysis, which alerts doctors whenever pulmonary function decreases.
  • STAT’s in-ear wearable measures blood flow to the brain, a “missing vital sign” in treating Long COVID-related brain fog and dizziness.

And although an “overactive inflammatory response” could contribute to the cause of Long COVID, absence of a quick fix is seeing retreats like SHA, Thailand’s RAKxa,and Austria’s VIVAMAYR stepping in with customised treatment plans.

Looking ahead: While new tech and treatments can support recovery, the price tag further highlights the socioeconomic gulf between Long COVID patients. Yet, thinking preventatively, if the 45% physically inactive Europeans could be motivated to move, resilience could rise and health bills could fall – and a walk in the park costs nothing.