Long term consequences of COVID-19 and the pandemic (The DEFEnse Against COVID-19 (DEFEAT CORONA) Study protocol): an online-based longitudinal observational study.
With population-wide vaccination availability, the global COVID-19 pandemic entered a new phase. In spite vaccination status, some people who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience long-term symptoms.
We aim to characterize long-term effects of a SARS-CoV-2 infection and the pandemic. We want to build symptom clusters and determine risk factors for developing Long COVID symptoms. Furthermore, we assess social participation and health-related quality of life in Long COVID patients and in the general population during a global pandemic.
With a mixed-method online approach, we aim to recruit 2000 people in Germany who are more than 18 years old and able to give informed consent. In the quantitative arm of the study, we identify symptoms of and predictive factors for Long COVID manifestations with cluster analysis and assess social participation during the pandemic with standardized questionnaires. The qualitative arm of the study uses individual interviews and focus group discussions to better understand the illness experience of persons who experience Long COVID.
The recruitment started in September 2021. Up until July 2022, we recruited approx. 4500 participants via our online database (www.defeat-corona.de).
This study aims to build an innovative, patient-centered research online-platform appropriate for the pandemic situation by minimizing physical contact between study personnel and participants. All study activities are designed to better understand the Long COVID syndrome, social participation during the pandemic and the illness experiences of persons affected by Long COVID.
The study was registered on 9th September 2021 in the German Clinical Trial Registry (DRKS00026007).
International registered report