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Led by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the University of Padua, a team of over 200 researchers from more than 40 countries will study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical and mental health. Members of the general public can take part by answering an anonymous survey. Results from this study will be used to better identify risks to health and inform strategies to manage their impact.
The ‘Collaborative Outcomes study on Health and Functioning during Infection Times’ (COH-FIT) aims to collect survey data on more than 100,000 participants. The survey, which is available in 25 languages, will collect data on participants’ physical and mental health. The aim is to identify both the short- and long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The researchers also want to establish whether pandemic-related restrictions place different sections of the population at higher or lower risk of developing physical and mental health problems. This information will then be used to develop targeted interventions for persons at particularly high risk. Those interested in taking part can access the survey at www.coh-fit.com.
“This detailed information will enable us to develop strategies aimed at helping both the general public and specific risk groups to better cope with the impact of the pandemic,” says project co-lead Prof. Dr. Christoph U. Correll, Head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy. “We also hope to learn how what action can be taken to reduce or prevent acute and long-term problems in the future.”
The COH-FIT project collects anonymous information on adults and, provided the parents have given their consent, on adolescents and children aged six years or older. In addition to asking about the participants’ physical and mental health status, the survey also collects data on demographics, professional status and environmental factors. The survey will be conducted in three stages, the first of which will take place during the current wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be followed by further surveys at six and twelve months after the end of the pandemic (as per WHO estimates). This three-stage approach is intended to identify both risk and protective factors, which will be important in informing prevention and intervention programs for use both during the COVID-19 pandemic and potential future pandemics.
The project is co-led by Prof. Correll, who is also Professor of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in New York, and Dr. Marco Solmi of the University of Padua and King’s College London. German researchers involved in the study hail from Berlin, Dresden, Freiburg, Hanover, Lübeck, Cologne, Mannheim/Heidelberg and Munich.