Burden of post-COVID conditions in Belgium: current insights and future perspectives

Wednesday 30 June 2021, 12h-13h CET

About the webinar

As the population of patients recovering from COVID-19 grows, it is becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 has the potential of causing long-lasting health effects. Some people develop post-COVID health conditions after being first infected with the virus, even after mild or asymptomatic infections. A range of symptoms have been reported in the aftermath, including fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and concentration difficulties. Post-COVID conditions can last weeks or months after the infection or can even occur weeks after recovering from COVID-19. Many uncertainties exist regarding the causality, the onset of the symptoms, the combination of symptoms and the treatment of post-COVID.

Experts from around the world are investigating who gets Post-COVID, in what way and why. We have asked three leading Belgian scientists to share their views on this enigmatic disease. In this first #HELICONference webinar, they unveil the latest insights into Post-COVID in Belgium and provide an outlook on the future developments in post-COVID research.


12h00 Welcome & Introduction
— Prof Dr Brecht Devleesschauwer, Sciensano & Ghent University, Belgium
12h05 Current insights into the long-term consequences of COVID-19
— Dr Diego Castanares, Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE)
Download the presentation
12h20 The Great Corona Study: an example of citizen science with potential for syndromic surveillance during a pandemic
— Prof Dr Philippe Beutels, Antwerp University
Download the presentation (preliminary data!)
12h35 Characterizing long COVID and its physical, mental and social implications: the COVIMPACT study
— Dr Pierre Smith, Sciensano
Download the presentation
12h50 Closing remarks
— Ann Li, Flemish post-COVID community
Download the closing remarks


Diego Castanares
Diego Castanares

Dr Diego Castanares, MD PhD, is a physician specialist in internal medicine and intensive care. Dr Castanares is researcher at the Belgian Healthcare Knowledge Centre (KCE), and invited associate professor at UCLouvain and consultant in the intensive care.

Philippe Beutels
Philippe Beutels

Prof Dr Philippe Beutels is a commercial engineer, doctor of medical sciences and professor of health economics. Internationally, he is one of the most prolific and cited authors on health economic aspects of infectious diseases and vaccination. In Belgium, he is a member of the Superior Health Council, the Royal Academy of Medicine and the expert group on the pandemic management strategy (GEMS). He is currently director of CHERMID, co-director of SIMID and department chair of the Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Institute at the University of Antwerp.

Pierre Smith
Pierre Smith

Dr Pierre Smith, PhD, is currently working as a scientist at Sciensano in the Department of Epidemiology and public health. He works on several research projects related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health (and mental health) of the general population and certain groups considered to be more vulnerable. Dr Smith obtained a PhD in public health at the Institute of Health and Society of the Université catholique de Louvain (Brussels, Belgium) in the field of psychiatric epidemiology and the evaluation of mental health policies in Europe.

Ann Li
Ann Li

Ann Li is the chairwoman of post-COVID, the Flemish patients association for people with long COVID. She used to coordinate projects in primary care, but she got COVID-19 in March 2020 and has been sick ever since.


HELICON is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy (BELSPO) through the BRAIN-be 2.0 (2018-2023) programme.

BRAIN-be logoBELSPO logo

Information sheet for participants: EN • NL • FR

Project coordinator

Prof. dr. Brecht Devleesschauwer

Sciensano, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Service Health Information