UK expands research into treatment, diagnosis of long COVID

Thousands of people suffering with long COVID will benefit from new research programmes backed by £19.6 million to help better understand the condition, improve diagnosis and find new treatments.

An extensive programme of 15 new research studies, backed by government funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), 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.

The latest research shows that although many people make a full recovery following COVID-19, a significant proportion of people continue to experience chronic symptoms for months. These groundbreaking studies aim to help those people affected return to their normal lives.

The projects will focus on:

better 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.”

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