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Govt responds to Long COVID inquiry with $50M research investment

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The Australian Government has announced that it will provide $50 million in funding from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) for research into post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), more commonly known as Long COVID.

This additional funding will help to advance knowledge of Long COVID in the Australian context and generate evidence to inform policy and clinical guidance, improve health outcomes, and increase awareness of the condition in the community. The first grant opportunity is expected to open in August 2023.

The funding comes in response to the final report from the House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport’s Inquiry into Long COVID and Repeated COVID Infections, which was tabled in the Australian Parliament on Monday. The committee, chaired by Dr Mike Freelander MP, made a number of recommendations in its final report, informed by more than 560 submissions and testimonies from a wide range of sources.

Long COVID is an emerging health issue, both in Australia and internationally, said Australian Health Minister Mark Butler, who expressed gratitude to Dr. Freelander and other committee members for their efforts in conducting the inquiry.

“I thank Dr Freelander and his committee for conducting this important inquiry. The Australian Government will invest $50 million into research into Long COVID – as an initial response to the inquiry,” Butler said. “I have tasked my department with developing a national plan to respond to Long COVID, taking into consideration the committee’s findings.”

The Department of Health and Aged Care has been directed to develop a national plan to address Long COVID, taking into account the committee’s recommendations. The government is committed to supporting a strong healthcare system that will deliver effective patient-centered care for people diagnosed with this condition and the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes for patients.

Long COVID is a phenomenon in which people experience ongoing symptoms long after recovering from COVID-19. These symptoms may include fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, joint pain, chest pain, and more.

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