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German doctor setting up new institute to focus on Long Covid

Long Covid will be the focus of a new institute that opened in the northern German city of Rostock on Saturday, the first of its kind in the country.

Rostock, Germany, 1 October 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Long Covid will be the focus of a new institute that opened in the northern German city of Rostock on Saturday, the first of its kind in the country.

Founder and pulmonologist Jördis Frommhold said the primary focus is creating a place where information can come together, since there are still so many open questions about how Long Covid affects people.

“We’re faced with a very diffuse range of diseases here, with varying symptoms, up to 200 kinds,” said Frommhold of the condition, which causes lingering illness and debilitation in some people who come down with Covid-19.

According to estimates, about 17 million people in Europe have been hit by Long Covid. Of those, 3 million are in Germany. Left untreated, this could have serious effects on employment rates and productivity.

“As a society, we simply can’t afford this,” she said.

The private institute will offer consultations to patients and to clinics that offer care to the afflicted, as well as to companies seeking to provide health management systems.

Thomas Harbaum, of the Bundeswehr (German military) Hospital in Hamburg said that the new institute will be important in setting up a network of experts. It will also play critical roles in supporting science and the economy, he said, with an eye on the losses German society is facing due to people falling out of the workforce for long stretches of time.

Frommhold is considered one of Germany’s leading experts on the disease and is the president of a new association on the disability. She has already treated more than 5,500 Long Covid patients at the specialty clinic where she is the senior physician.

Frommhold will initially fund the institute privately, but also with support from the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, assuming the state legislature approves this.

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