COVIMPACT - Long COVID and its physical, mental and social implications

Last updated on 12-3-2022 by Pierre Smith
April 29, 2021
April 29, 2023

Financial Source

In short

The purpose of the COVIMPACT project is to set up a cohort of people who have been tested positive with COVID-19 in order to study the evolution of their physical, mental and social health over the long term, and assess the factors associated with a favourable or unfavourable evolution. Depending on when participants join the cohort, they are followed-up from a minimum of 3 months to a maximum of 2 years. In a nutshell, COVIMPACT aims to increase knowledge about the long-term effects of a COVID-19 infection and on the syndrome called “long COVID”.

Project summary

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the focus was first on managing the acute symptoms of the disease. But more recent reports have emerged that some patients continue to experience symptoms beyond the acute phase of the infection. This syndrome is now called “long COVID”. Currently, there is no consensus definition of long COVID and people who suffer from it have different symptoms that can have multiple causes. In December 2020, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) proposed the following definition of long COVID: Having signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with COVID-19, continue for more than 3 months and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis. However, there is currently little data and information on the long-term impacts of a COVID-19 infection and its physical, mental and social implications.

The objective of the COVIMPACT project is to constitute a cohort of people who test positive for COVID-19 in order to:

  • study the long-term evolution of a COVID-19 infection on physical, mental and social health
  • identify the groups at risk and the factors associated with a favorable / unfavorable evolution

COVIMPACT is a prospective online observational cohort study. The target group are people who have had a COVID-19 infection confirmed by a laboratory test. When a COVID-19 test is positive, the lab sends the information to a central database that is used by call centers to contact COVID-19 cases and trace their contacts. At the end of the call, the call center agents inform people aged 18 and over about our online survey and ask if they agree to receive a link by SMS for more information on the study, and potentially participate in the study and complete the first questionnaire. Follow-up questionnaires are sent by Sciensano every 3 months until the end of the study in April 2023. Depending on when participants entered the study, the follow-up varies from 3 months to 2 years.

The primary outcomes of this study are:

  • Long COVID
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Fatigue
  • Functional limitations
  • Mental health
  • Employment status and economic situation

Associated Health Topics

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