Assoc Prof Vicki Lawson speaks to ABC Radio National’s The Health Report and addresses the Long COVID Conference

Assoc Prof Vicki Lawson, Department of Microbiology and Immunology was a guest speaker at the Long COVID Conference held in Melbourne on Friday 1 September 2023.

The conference was sponsored by the Victorian Agency for Health Information and the Department of Health, and was Australia’s first conference solely devoted to Long COVID, defined by persisting symptoms three months after an acute Covid infection.

Vicki was also interviewed by Dr Norman Swan for ABC Radio National’s The Health Report, about the Long COVID Conference, her research in preclinical models of Covid infection, and what happens when a respiratory virus enters the brain barrier.

We see little pockets of virus, and then we see astrocytes and microglia reacting to infection.

Listen to the interview The Health Report – The impact and extent of Long COVID in Australia

The Long COVID conference included the results of the Victorian Long COVID Health Survey, a survey of over 12,600 respondents dating back to January 2020, reporting a key finding that 14.2% of COVID positive respondents were classified as having long COVID at the time of the survey, a statistic that is consistent with international research.

The criteria for long COVID is COVID infection AND not fully recovered 3 months after their first infection AND experiencing at least one new persistent symptom (>2months duration).  Respondents reported fatigue, brain fog and feeling physically weak as their top 3 long COVID symptoms.

The aim of the Long COVID Conference was to bring together researchers, clinicians, policymakers / public servants, as well as people living with long COVID, some of whom were really disabled by it, to share information and discuss the emerging evidence about long COVID care in Victoria.

Assoc Professor Vicki Lawson discussed her research, supported by The Medical Research Future Fund, investigating the neurological impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection including both the acute and persistent (long COVID) effects.

Learn more about Assoc Professor Vicki Lawson