Public Health

10.08.20

Long-term Covid-19 health impacts research study launched

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced one of the world’s largest comprehensive research studies into the long-term health impacts of coronavirus on hospitalised patients.

Backed by an award of £8.4m in funding by the Government, through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the study is expected to include around 10,000 across the UK and will support the development of new measures to treat NHS patients with coronavirus.

The study will be led by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership between the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and will draw on the expertise of a consortium of leading researchers and doctors from across the UK.

They will assess and publish findings on the impact of Covid-19 on patient health and their recovery, including looking at potential ways to help improve the mental health of patients hospitalised with the virus and how individual characteristics such as gender and ethnicity influence recovery.

Patients on the study from across the UK will be assessed using techniques such as advanced imaging, data collection and analysis of blood and lung samples, creating a comprehensive picture of the impact Covid-19 has on longer-term health outcomes.

The findings will support the development of new strategies for clinical and rehabilitation care, including personalised treatments based on the particular disease characteristics that a patient shows, to improve their long-term health.

Mr Hancock said: “As we continue our fight against this global pandemic, we are learning more and more about the impact the disease can have not only on immediate health, but longer-term physical and mental health too.

“This world-leading study is another fantastic contribution from the UK’s world-leading life sciences and research sector. It will also help to ensure future treatment can be tailored as much as possible to the person.”

Chief Medical Officer and Head of NIHR, Professor Chris Whitty added: “As well as the immediate health impacts of the virus it is also important to look at the longer-term impacts on health, which may be significant.

“We have rightly focused on mortality, and what the UK can do straight away to protect lives but we should also look at how COVID-19 impacts on the health of people after they have recovered from the immediate disease.”

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