Persistent ill health after acute COVID-19-referred to as long COVID, the post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, or the post-COVID-19 condition-has emerged as a major concern. We undertook an international consensus exercise to identify research priorities with the aim of understanding the long-term effects of acute COVID-19, with a focus on people with pre-existing airways disease and the occurrence of new-onset airways disease and associated symptoms. 202 international experts were invited to submit a minimum of three research ideas. After a two-phase internal review process, a final list of 98 research topics was scored by 48 experts. Patients with pre-existing or post-COVID-19 airways disease contributed to the exercise by weighting selected criteria. The highest-ranked research idea focused on investigation of the relationship between prognostic scores at hospital admission and morbidity at 3 months and 12 months after hospital discharge in patients with and without pre-existing airways disease. High priority was also assigned to comparisons of the prevalence and severity of post-COVID-19 fatigue, sarcopenia, anxiety, depression, and risk of future cardiovascular complications in patients with and without pre-existing airways disease. Our approach has enabled development of a set of priorities that could inform future research studies and funding decisions. This prioritisation process could also be adapted to other, non-respiratory aspects of long COVID.
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