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Long COVID: 15 studies launched with £19.6 million government funding

Published on 19/07/21 at 09:30am

The UK government has announced the launch of 15 new extensive studies, backed by £19.6 million in funding, to investigate the condition, improve diagnosis, and find new treatments.

The programme will allow researchers across the UK to draw together their expertise from analysing long COVID among those suffering long-term effects and the health and care professionals supporting them.

So far, the effects of long COVID are still understudied and unknown. The projects will focus on the following areas:

  • Improving understanding the condition and identifying it
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of different care services
  • Better integrating specialist, hospital and community services for those suffering with long COVID
  • Identifying effective treatments, such as drugs, rehabilitation, and recovery to treat people suffering from chronic symptoms
  • Improving home monitoring and self-management of symptoms, including looking at the impact of diet
  • Identifying and understanding the effect of particular symptoms of long COVID, such as breathlessness, reduced ability to exercise, and brain fog

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Long COVID can have serious and debilitating long term effects for thousands of people across the UK which can make daily life extremely challenging. This new research is absolutely essential to improve diagnosis and treatments and will be life-changing for those who are battling long-term symptoms of the virus.

“It will build on our existing support with over 80 long COVID assessment services open across England as part of a £100 million expansion of care for those suffering from the condition and over £50 million invested in research to better understand the lasting effects of this condition.”

The studies include STIMULATE-ICP at University College London, which will be the largest of the studies into long COVID to date, ReDIRECT at University of Glasgow backed by nearly £1 million, LOCOMOTION at University of Leeds with £3.4 million, and EXPLAIN at University of Oxford backed by £1.8 million.

Professor Nick Lemoine, Chair of NIHR’s long COVID funding committee and Medical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN), said: “This package of research will provide much needed hope to people with long-term health problems after COVID-19, accelerating development of new ways to diagnose and treat long COVID, as well as how to configure healthcare services to provide the absolute best care. Together with our earlier round of funding, NIHR has invested millions into research covering the full gamut of causes, mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of long COVID.”

Kat Jenkins

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