Introduction: Very little is known about possible clinical sequelae that may persist after resolution of acute COVID-19. A recent longitudinal cohort from Italy including 143 patients followed up after hospitalisation with COVID-19 reported that 87% had at least one ongoing symptom at 60-day follow-up. Early indications suggest that patients with COVID-19 may need even more psychological support than typical intensive care unit patients. The assessment of risk factors for longer term consequences requires a longitudinal study linked to data on pre-existing conditions and care received during the acute phase of illness. The primary aim of this study is to characterise physical and psychosocial sequelae in patients post-COVID-19 hospital discharge. Methods and analysis: This is an international open-access prospective, observational multisite study. This protocol is linked with the International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) and the WHO’s Clinical Characterisation Protocol, which includes patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 during hospitalisation. This protocol will follow-up a subset of patients with confirmed COVID-19 using standardised surveys to measure longer term physical and psychosocial sequelae. The data will be linked with the acute phase data. Statistical analyses will be undertaken to characterise groups most likely to be affected by sequelae of COVID-19. The open-access follow-up survey can be used as a data collection tool by other follow-up studies, to facilitate data harmonisation and to identify subsets of patients for further in-depth follow-up. The outcomes of this study will inform strategies to prevent long-term consequences; inform clinical management, interventional studies, rehabilitation and public health management to reduce overall morbidity; and improve long-term outcomes of COVID-19. Ethics and dissemination: The protocol and survey are open access to enable low-resourced sites to join the study to facilitate global standardised, longitudinal data collection. Ethical approval has been given by sites in Colombia, Ghana, Italy, Norway, Russia, the UK and South Africa. New sites are welcome to join this collaborative study at any time. Sites interested in adopting the protocol as it is or in an adapted version are responsible for ensuring that local sponsorship and ethical approvals in place as appropriate. The tools are available on the ISARIC website (www.isaric.org).


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Cite as

Sigfrid, L., Cevik, M., Jesudason, E., Lim, W., Rello, J., Amuasi, J., Bozza, F., Palmieri, C., Munblit, D., Holter, J., Kildal, A., Russell, C., Ho, A., Turtle, L., Drake, T., Beltrame, A., Hann, K., Bangura, I., Fowler, R., Lakoh, S., Berry, C., Lowe, D., McPeake, J., Hashmi, M., Dyrhol-Riise, A., Donohue, C., Plotkin, D., Hardwick, H., Elkheir, N., Lone, N., Docherty, A., Harrison, E., Baille, K., Carson, G., Semple, M. & Scott, J. 2021, 'What is the recovery rate and risk of long-term consequences following a diagnosis of COVID-19? – a harmonised, global longitudinal observational study protocol', BMJ Open, 11(3), article no: e043887. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-043887

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Last updated: 19 August 2023
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