Radio Interview with Dr Phil Hammond covering Long COVID and ME/CFS

December 20, 2021


Times Radio had an interview with Dr Phil Hammond and the presenter Hugo Rifkind which covered Long COVID and ME/CFS. (18/12/21)

The transcript of the conversation is shown below.

Transcript 

00:00:08 Hugo Rifkind – Radio Presenter 

Let's talk a bit about long COVID before I let you go. 

00:00:11 Hugo Rifkind – Radio Presenter 

What where are we in our understanding of long Covid, 'cause I know. Imagine you must be at the at the forefront of it. 

00:00:17 Dr Hammond 

We’re a long way off, but what's interesting, I mean they you may have realised there was a big battle National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) we're trying to update the ME/CFS which before long Covid it was probably the closest thing we had to guidance on that sort of condition. 

00:00:30 Dr Hammond 

And it took him ages because there were huge battles between the Royal Colleges about what should be in it whether we should include graded exercise therapy and CBT or whatever. 

00:00:38 Dr Hammond 

But the bottom line, if you read this and we've known about post viral fatigue and ME for 50 years, the current guidance says we don't precisely know what the causes are, we don't have a diagnostic test and we have no proven effective treatments and no cures. So, that's 50 years of research, they looked at loads and loads of drugs and they said that the trials were poorly constructed and we couldn't make firm conclusions. So, going into this, our knowledge about post viral fatigue learned from ME/CFS is really poor. 

00:01:07 Dr Hammond 

Uhm, the hope is that we're gonna pick up with long COVID. Ironically, 'cause lots of doctors and researchers have got long COVID they're on the frontline, they got a huge dose of COVID, they were told to get back to work too quickly and they push themselves too hard. 

00:01:19 Dr Hammond 

They've now got long Covid. They're angry and exasperated, but they want to use their expertise to come up with new things, so it might be mast cells, it might be immune dysfunction, it might be clotting dysfunction. There are lots of research going on at the moment and it's yet to say this is how we should definitely handle it, but I'm hoping because the research into Covid has been so good, we'll get some really good long COVID research that will also benefit people with ME/CFS. 

00:01:44 Dr Hammond 

At the moment it's lifestyle management, it's not pushing yourself too hard, it's trying to prioritise a regular sleep pattern, eat nutritious food, get regular rest and relaxation. But mainly to be believed, so a huge amount of the stress at ME/CFS is that people weren't believed there was thought to be malingering that it wasn't a proper condition. 

00:02:01 Dr Hammond 

Then if you add that stress onto an already deeply unpleasant condition, it makes it far worse. So just as I believe you, people look at you Hugo, I don't really believe what he's going on about his leg, I absolutely believe it, and that's a very least we can do at the moment with long Covid is to believe people and to help them. 

00:02:18 Dr Hammond 

And in this pandemic, whatever happens with Omicron looking on your neighbours, looking in with your mate Long Covid is really struggling. 

00:02:24 Dr Hammond 

You know we need to rebuild that kindness and compassion that served us so well in the 1st and 2nd WAVES and not get bitter and angry. 

00:02:30 Dr Hammond 

Whatever happened on in Downing St? There's no need to take it out on other people in your community, so be the same decent kind person that we were previously and don't go all angry and disheartened because of how politicians or civil servants have behaved followed. 

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