Latest News | 23 February 2022

University scientists leading international study into long-Covid

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Scientists at the University of Derby are leading a pioneering international study to improve the lives of people suffering with the prolonged and life impairing impacts of long-Covid.

Post-acute Covid-19, or long-Covid, describes patients reporting persistent symptoms and illness for longer periods than are expected, despite receiving clinical treatment.

It is estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide have experienced lingering health concerns or are still reporting problems following a Covid infection, creating an unprecedented demand for health care services around the world.

To support the implementation of the pathways needed to meet this growing demand, the university is working with other institutions in the UK, US and India to conduct an international Covid-19 recovery trial, backed by the NHS.

Dr Mark Faghy, the associate professor leading the project at the University of Derby, said: “To date, there is little data that has profiled the time and determinants of a successful recovery in the post-Covid-19 period.

“Here, we have a collaboration between clinical and non-clinical partners that will enable us to share expertise in this field and rethink how we establish the support needed.”

Derby researchers and their partners are working to gather additional insight into the determinants of recovery to better understand the changes in symptomology over time.

This work is taking place in some of the countries that have been worst affected by coronavirus.

Long-Covid is a complex, multi-system disease associated with a broad range of symptoms including fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, neurocognitive difficulties, muscle pains and weakness, depression, and other mental health conditions.

Each partner institution involved in the study is connected to a local hospital and has a dedicated on-site research facility.

The 16-week trial profiles the recovery of patients with Covid-19 who have been discharged into the local community from hospitals or referred into long-Covid centres.

Using a combination of physiological, biological, psychological tests and observations through regular patient visits, remote meetings and patient journals, the study aims to understand more about long-Covid and develop clear support pathways to improve long-term health outcomes and restore quality of life for patients.

Dr Mark Faghy said: “Long-Covid has left millions of people unable to do the things they once loved.

“Everyday activities and work, the things we all probably take for granted, have become much more challenging and this impacts their quality of life drastically.

“With the threat of sustained transmission, infections and future Covid-19 variants, there is an urgent need to support patients with optimised and informed rehabilitation strategies to support them in the post-Covid period and reduce the substantial co-morbidities associated with long-Covid.”

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