People experiencing the longer-term effects of long COVID will benefit from £18.5m to fund research projects to help better understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of the condition.
The funding will be given to 4 studies to identify the causes of long COVID and effective therapies to treat people who experience chronic symptoms of the disease.
The projects were chosen following a UK-wide call to find ambitious and comprehensive research programmes to help address the physical and mental health effects of COVID-19 in those experiencing longer-term symptoms but who do not require admittance into hospital.
Long COVID can present with clusters of symptoms that are often overlapping and/or fluctuating. A systematic review has highlighted 55 different long-term effects but common symptoms of long COVID include breathlessness, headaches, cough, fatigue and cognitive impairment or ‘brain fog’. There is also emerging evidence that some people experience organ damage.
Approximately 1 in 10 people with COVID-19 continue to experience symptoms and impaired quality of life beyond 12 weeks (‘long COVID’).
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock said: “I am acutely aware of the lasting and debilitating impact long COVID can have on people of all ages, irrespective of the extent of the initial symptoms. Fatigue, headaches and breathlessness can affect people for months after their COVID-19 infection regardless of whether they required hospital admission initially. In order to effectively help these individuals we need to better understand long COVID and identify therapeutics that can help recovery. This funding will kick-start 4 ambitious projects to do just that.”