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UK spends £18.5m on 4 long covid studies

Discussion in 'Epidemics (including Covid-19)' started by Simon M, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. Simon M

    Simon M Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    £18.5 million awarded to new research projects to understand and treat long COVID

    The NIHR and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI - the MRC is included in this) have funded four new research studies to better understand and address the longer-term effects of COVID-19 on physical and mental health.

    The new research projects, which have been awarded a total of £18.5 million, will help to better understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of what is known as ‘long COVID’.

    The projects were chosen following a UK-wide call to fund ambitious and comprehensive research into causes, mechanisms and management of the longer term symptoms of COVID-19 in people who were not unwell enough to be admitted to hospital.
    These four studies are mostly interesting, certainly with elements that could be applied to ME/CFS studies
    • large cohort to gather info online/through an app.
    • Recruit smaller group to hospital testing and using wearable to measure sleep, heart rate, breathing etc.
    One study, in particular, seems to be looking at psychosocial interventions, but at least these are described as "supportive" and separate from "treatments".
    What follows is my light edit of key sections from the above press release.

    1. REACT long COVID (REACT-LC) - £5.4 million
    Professor Paul Elliott, Imperial College London

    This project aims to characterise and better understand the genetic, biological, social and environmental signatures and pathways of long COVID. It will also identify factors affecting why some people experience long term health effects of COVID-19, while others do not.

    This is based on the REACT community study which has over 30,000 people with a positive test and 90,000 who tested negative.

    Patient information research: People will be sent a survey and participants with long co-will be invited to enjoy a panel, with 60 invited for in-depth interviews. The researchers will develop a set of patient reported outcomes that reflect the symptoms most important of people living with long co-Covid.

    Biological research
    : to understand more about mechanisms behind symptoms and perhaps point the way to treatments, up to 8000 people with positive tests, including at least 4000 with long Covid, will be invited for health tests and samples to test for genetic and other biological markers.

    2. Therapies for long COVID in non-hospitalised individuals: from symptoms, patient-reported outcomes and immunology to targeted therapies (The TLC Study) - £2.3m
    Dr Shamil Haroon and Professor Melanie Calvert, University of Birmingham

    This will identify and recruit thousands of non-hospitalised people into a major clinical digital study.

    This project aims to identify which treatments are most likely to benefit people with particular symptoms of long COVID and test supportive treatments to improve their quality of life.

    Patient information: The researchers will identify around 2000 patients with long COVID from GP records. study participants will be invited to use a digital platform to report long COVID symptoms/quality of life.

    Biology: A subgroup of around 300 patients will receive blood and other biological tests to understand the immunology of long COVID and will wear a device that will measure their heart rate, oxygen saturation, step count and sleep quality.

    The researchers will review evidence for long COVID treatments, including drugs or supportive interventions (e.g. for mental health or tiredness). Working with patients, doctors and other experts, the researchers will recommend treatments that should be tested in long COVID patients and co-produce a targeted intervention for long COVID, tailored to individual patient need.

    This will be delivered remotely in the community, via the Atom5TM app, providing critical support and information to empower patients in self-managing long COVID. In addition, they will provide tailored resources to support symptom management and nurse-led support for those with the severest symptoms.
    This is clearly a behavioural/information approach (I guess it could be pacing, and that is what patients might recommend, but good equally be psychosocial).

    3. Characterisation, determinants, mechanisms and consequences of the long-term effects of COVID-19: providing the evidence base for health care services
    - £9.6 million

    Professor Nishi Chaturvedi, University College London

    Aims to define what long COVID is and improve diagnosis. It will address why some people get the condition, the typical effects on a person’s health and ability to work, and the factors which affect recovery. It will also look at how best to ensure patients are able to access the right treatment and support through health services.

    using data from anonymised NHS records and existing studies:
    T0k, all ages across the country.

    People recruited from these studies reporting long COVID and comparator groups, will be asked to:
    • wear a wrist band measuring exercise ability, breathing, and heart rate.
    • complete online questionnaires on mental health and cognitive function.
    • visit a clinic for non-invasive imaging to look at potential damage to vital organs, such as the brain, lungs and heart.
    4.Non-hospitalised children and young people with long COVID (The CLoCk Study) - £1.4 million
    Professor Sir Terence Stephenson, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

    This research project aims to characterise symptoms typical of long COVID in non-hospitalised children and young people. .. The study will provide data to help doctors to diagnose long COVID, establish how common it is, risk factors, and how long it goes on for
    FMMM1, Michelle, sebaaa and 11 others like this.
  2. Simon M

    Simon M Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    ME/CFS what I love to see is this applied to ME/CFS research. The obvious thing would be a cohort of glandular fever patients. I think there are 5 to 10,000 cases a year, at least, and they are fairly easy to identify because they all get tested. Over a couple of years you could probably recruit 10 to 20,000 people. Gather hollow data through a symptom app. And bring in a subgroup for testing. By following a glandular fever cohort you could get in at the beginning to see how ME/CFS develops.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2021
    FMMM1, Michelle, sebaaa and 9 others like this.
  3. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Quotes from the details on NIHR site.

    So they already know what they will find. No need to consider neurological symptoms as, a) they will not show up on scans, b) if they are on a questionnaire they will be interpreted as mental phenomena.

    Uh, that is highly unlikely.

    Love how the answer is already in the question. There ARE factors that affect recovery. Do tell. I think I already know what those factors are. And even further I'm fairly certain that anyone here could write up that report right now and make a pretty accurate account of what will be found in the 'research'. These questions have all been answered as poorly in all the other studies on long term illness.

    Here's a thought. Have a group that do nothing but convalesce when having symptoms and don't overexert. Let's see if some of those people recover without special clinics providing the 'right treatment and support through health services'.

    I'm not kidding about writing up the report here and then comparing it to what gets written by our intrepid experts because I would love to be wrong and see that they actually did the work in suspending judgment about what's needed and actually looking for understanding what the reality is without torturing data and all the other special methods used to get the usual result.

    The one caveat I'd put is that, as we know, LC has specific health issues around organ failure (sorry that's non-specific I forget the details) that may be different from previous studies so their treatment will in fact be different. Although I see an opportunity for them to use this group to malign the rest.
  4. Jaybee00

    Jaybee00 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I’ll save the UK a lot of money here. Long Covid is Covid-triggered MECFS.
    Michelle, Ariel, sebaaa and 4 others like this.
  5. Jaybee00

    Jaybee00 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    What evidence do you have that these four studies are not, in fact, MECFS studies? MECFS is agnostic with respect to the trigger.
    alktipping likes this.

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