New international trial to focus on quality of life for long COVID patients

King’s College London (KCL), the University of Derby and Sheffield Hallam University are part of a new international trial which is aiming to improve the quality of life for patients with ‘long COVID’.

The cross-institutional study will focus on those with ‘prolonged and life impairing impacts’ from post-acute COVID-19.

According to King’s, ‘it is estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide have experienced lingering health concerns or are still reporting problems following a COVID infection’.

To help address this and ‘support the implementation of the pathways’ needed to meet growing demand, three UK universities will work with international partners such as the University of Illinois Chicago (USA) and Ramaiah Medical College (Bengaluru, India), along with neighbouring clinical organisations.

The institutions will conduct an ‘international COVID-19 recovery trial’, which is sponsored by the NHS Health Authority, and is set to look into ‘determinants of recovery’ to ‘better understand the changes in symptomology over time’.

Each institution is connected to a local hospital and has or will have a dedicated research facility for the 16-week trial, which will profiles the recovery of patients who have been discharged into the local community or referred into long COVID centres.

Using a mix of ‘physiological, biological, psychological tests’ and patient observations through visits, remote meetings and journals, the work aims to develop ‘clear support pathways to improve long-term health outcomes’.

Dr Federico Formenti of KCL said: “Many individuals experience symptoms for months following infection with coronavirus. In more critical cases, individuals’ quality of life is severely compromised, and many are unable to return to work. Our project will provide a deeper understanding of long-lasting COVID symptoms and will propose a new pathway to support patients’ successful and rapid recovery.”