Murdoch science guiding the nation on Long COVID

Parliament House

Professor Jeremy Nicholson has appeared at the Australian Academy of Sciences Long COVID Roundtable in Parliament House and the Parliamentary Standing Committee to provide recommendations on future healthcare policy for Long COVID.

“The threat is still present with the virus is still at large and dangerous, with the potential to mutate further, as evidenced by the recent surges of cases in Victoria and Western Australia driven by Omicron sub-variants,” Professor Nicholson said in his Parliamentary Submission on Long-COVID.

“So, what can we do here and now that would make a difference in Australia and the world?

“Put simply, we need to be able to accurately predict the long-term effects of viral exposure at an early stage so that patients can be more effectively monitored and managed.

“If we can predict Long COVID early, and understand its immuno-biochemical basis, we will be able to use that knowledge to enable more effective treatments to be developed and delivered.”

The two forums convened leading experts in Australia to provide evidence to inform national healthcare policies and procedures relating to Long COVID.

Professor Nicholson, who is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Director of the Australian National Phenome Centre, said the appearances were an endorsement of the ANPC’s robust research in the systemic effects of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has both acute and chronic long-term effects which may pose significant new challenges to individual patients and healthcare systems.

“These forums were a terrific opportunity to present our innovative approach to investigate, characterize, and objectively quantify the biomedical effects of Long COVID.

“At the ANPC, we have demonstrated the deeply systemic nature of this disease and its after-effects, characterised by distinct metabolic signatures including those typically observed with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver dysfunction, neurological disruption and acute inflammation.

“This has been achieved through multiple studies on thousands of COVID-19 patient samples using the ANPC’s extensive metabolic profiling research capability and have also discovered multiple diagnostic markers relevant to acute and long COVID diagnosis and management.

It gives me confidence that this evidence is being closely considered in developing healthcare recommendations for a pandemic that is very much not resolved.”

Professor Nicholson reiterated that Australia has enjoyed a relatively good position through the pandemic but that more work is necessary to continue that.

“No country has had an exemplary response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but by a combination of geographical isolation, reasonably effective early lockdowns and good luck, Australia has avoided some of the worst effects of the pandemic.

“It’s important that we act prudently now so that we can continue to enjoy this enviable position.”

The ANPC is part of Murdoch University’s Health Futures Institute, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of scientists and our local WA community to transform how long and how well people live, not just in Australia, but around the world.

This research supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 17.

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Posted on:

21 Feb 2023


Science, Health, Research

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