The advancement of long COVID research in Quebec

The Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (Interdisciplinary Center for Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration) is responsible for the study. We don’t treat patients. We draw a portrait of people’s physical impairments and limitationsexplains Gilles Drouin, research professional at the Interdisciplinary Center for Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration.

Individual interviews are carried out with each patient as well as clinical tests with specialists, including neuropsychologists, neurologists and pulmonologists. The patient’s condition is reassessed after three and six months.

With the results obtained, patients are directed to the right resources. For example, an occupational therapist for stress management or a physiotherapist for those with balance issuesadds Gilles Drouin.

The only two post-COVID-19 clinics in Quebec are located in Montreal and Sherbrooke. According to Mr. Drouin, there is a lack of services for people in whom the disease persists. We’re still caught in a belief that it’s an imaginary diseasehe laments.

According to the World Organization, 10% to 20% of patients who contract COVID-19 have persistent symptoms. To be affected, these symptoms must last at least three months and cannot be explained by another diagnosis.

Portrait of the long COVID

The long COVID leaves patients with different symptoms. We mainly see people with intense fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive disorders such as memory loss or difficulty concentrating so that the people we meet have to limit their daily activity.says Gilles Drouin.

Some people have just one symptom, others have dozens. There is no minimum number of symptoms required for a diagnosis of post-COVID-19 syndrome. The severity varies greatly from person to person.

The researcher points out that those who develop the disease are not necessarily old or vulnerable.

« According to our sample, those affected are on average 40 years old. These are not necessarily people who were first hospitalized. »

A quote from Gilles Drouin, research professional at CIRRIS

About 80% of those affected are women. Most are between 35 and 69 years old. However, it is unclear who is most at risk of developing post-COVID-19 symptoms.

« We have no way of predicting. It’s a game of Russian roulette. Will it fall on you? »

A quote from Simon Décary, researcher at the Patient-Centred Rehabilitation Research Laboratory at the University of Sherbrooke


There is currently no treatment to cure this disease. Rehabilitation remains the preferred option for relieving certain symptoms. If Gilles Drouin observes improvements in patients, progress is slow.

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I have patients who have had this for a year, a year and a half. You have to use your patience. It is difficult to say at this time whether the long COVID will become a new chronic diseasehe said.

Search for candidates

the Interdisciplinary Center for Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration is currently looking for 120 adults with persistent symptoms of Covid-19, 120 adults who have had Covid-19 but no persistent symptoms, and 120 healthy adults to continue research.

You will get an assessment of your physical abilities as well as normative data that will allow you to compare your results to different tests and to people of the same gender and age as you.explains Mr. Drouin.

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