Scottish universities launch new £375k long COVID study

The University of Stirling and the University of Aberdeen are collaborating on a new £375k study into the “lived experiences” of people with long COVID.

The universities’ researchers hope to understand the support needs of people suffering from the long-term effects and symptoms of COVID-19, and ultimately to help improve the care available.

As part of the study, qualitative researchers will conduct and analyse interviews with long COVID ‘sufferers’, including patients who were in critical or high dependency care. These will aim to discover more information about symptoms, the impact on daily life, and care needs.

Lasting for two years, the study will share its findings with patients, families, carers and healthcare professionals. While the researchers’ work, which will include video, audio and written excerpts, will also be made publicly available on the patient experience site,

£299,883 of funding for the project, which will see academics from both universities collaborate with colleagues at the University of Oxford and the Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health and Professional Research Unit, will come from the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office.

Project lead, Professor Kate Hunt of the University of Stirling, said: “COVID-19 is a new virus and stories in the media often focus on the number of deaths attributed to the virus or those who are hardly affected and recover quickly.

“Our study will look at those suffering from prolonged symptoms – known as ‘long COVID’ – to produce a reliable, evidenced online resource with practical information and support for those affected and their families and carers.

“We will also present information that can be used to train doctors, nurses, social care and other healthcare workers – and ultimately improve care to patients.” 

Professor Louise Locock of the University of Aberdeen, added: “We are confident that this project will give us the information on the real-life impact of long COVID that can then be used both to support others going through the same thing and to help inform the care that they should receive.”