Around one year ago to date, the first cases of the Coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, were recorded to be spreading rapidly across countries in Asia and soon, Europe and the rest of the world. Since then, the world has been held at relative stand-still and the global population has been tested to its limits to adapt to “the new normal” of the ongoing pandemic and emergency response measures.

Since EBC’s statement on Lessons learned from COVID-19: the importance of putting health and research first in April 2020, the scientific and medical worlds have been grappling to understand COVID-19 and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the disease remain unclear. Like other organisations in the health space, EBC has taken the time to observe the progress of the virus over the last months and gather concrete information made available by ongoing research.

Not only has the pandemic impacted our countries economically, COVID-19 has also served as a sharp reality check for public health systems. Response has been slow at times and confused at others, particularly in unions such as ours, where joint decision-making is imperative. Innovation in research has proven vital in the quest for a vaccine and the pharmaceutical industry – including EBC partners – has stepped up significantly to provide a vaccination in 10 months time.

However, what growing research reveals now is that the public response can no longer be limited to mass vaccination and scenarios of swift returns “to normal”. The EU and global COVID-19 response must also treat the pandemic as a wake up call to ensure that public response takes the heavy long-term consequences in mind, as the impact of the coronavirus on brain health alone during the last months has been a major and dramatic one with severe mental and neurological consequences.

Read the full EBC statement below, summarising the details of this impact: