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WHN Boardroom Briefing – Nov 23

Global chronic disease and disability risk level: HIGH 

Post-acute viral disease can impact anyone and is not a new healthcare problem. Despite this fact, Governments continue to pursue a “herd immunity” or “hybrid immunity” strategy which is failing because Covid-19 is a vascular disease causing endothelial damage (the SARS-COV-2 virus injures our blood vessels), creates (micro) clots and cytokines that disables immune systems – meaning that the impact from every infection is causing cumulative damage which can also be silent. This is triggering widespread hyper-inflammation and cell damage throughout the body that can starve the brain, heart, tissues, muscles of oxygen and can cause lasting damage to our energy (mitochondrial) cells – all of which could be early warning signs of new long term chronic health conditions, in both children and adults. The impact on women’s lives is particularly vulnerable, as there has been no mandatory medical education for doctors on how the female body uniquely responds to viral attacks, or sustains continuous waves of re-infections.

NATURE, 1st Nov 23 – whilst this diagram is excellent at conveying the stages of each SARS-COV-2 infection, the article itself contains outdated and low quality medical advice. No aspect of Long Covid is psychosomatic, it is a serious biomedical disease that requires urgent biomedical funding and treatment. A high quality three year literature review on Long Covid and its multi-organ, multi-system presentation (written by a co-author with lived experience) can be found here.


Global solution feasibility level: HIGH 

New, infection-associated chronic disease labs, research collectives and clinical trials are starting to investigate new treatments for the systemic, underlying biomedical problems including viral persistence in tissues and how viruses are reactivating or changing our DNA. There is an urgent need to scale faster and reach clinical settings worldwide but researchers lack the operation warpspeed investment and interest from global Pharma / Governments that we saw in the first stage of the pandemic. The Insurance industry should be ready to provide early access to new experimental biomedical diagnostics and treatments to reduce increasing economic and health costs and to move away from the status quo of a symptom management approach, which is insufficient and inhumane. The covid pandemic will not be over until we have a cure for long covid/ all post-acute viral disease.


  • A substantial number of employees and citizens worldwide are being left with a quality of life and level of disability of someone with stage 4 cancer, AIDS or heart disease and no healthcare that is fit for purpose
  • Energy limited conditions (ELC) is a new type of disability umbrella that can be extremely challenging to live and work with and impacts cognitive capacity and capability. Employees will likely require flexible working to stay in work: incl: pacing throughout the day, redesign of work tasks and regular rest breaks 
  • Full recovery is rare – employees with long covid and other post-acute viral diseases (incl. ME/CFS with a pre-pandemic recovery rate of 5%) will likely be “self-medicating” by reducing their levels of daily activity at home to work – this is not sustainable and reinfections may set them back significantly 
  • In absence of any bioscience-led chronic health or govt policy, businesses should work with external advocacy leaders to review their post-acute pandemic ways of working, employee resources and messaging around long covid and financial support for employees who can’t recover and seek to offer additional, non-mental health services including advocacy assistance. 

Emerging biomed projects: 

  • Polybio – a global research consortium that is studying the core biological drivers and treatment options of long covid and other post-acute infectious disease 
  • Open Medicine Foundation – announced its first clinical trials and exists to end the suffering of ME/CFS. (donations are tripled until the end of November) 
  • Yale School of Medicine has launched a new center for infection and immunity, led by Prof Akiko Iwasaki
  • Decode ME – the world’s largest genetics study on ME by the University of Edinburgh (closed for registration on 15th November 23)
  • Morton Group at Oxford University – working on a blood test to provide a biomarker for ME and Long Covid, also fundraising for new protein screening equipment 
  • Quadrum Research Park in Norwich – calling for the first ever biomedicine center for ME to be set up in the UK
  • Visible app – tracking chronic illness not fitness, now partnering with a number of universities in the UK, US

Patient biomed resources :  

Next steps:

More: prevention updates since the last briefing (Oct 23)

Last reviewed on November 28, 2023

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