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Nottingham expert to play key role in ground-breaking new study into long-term health impacts of coronavirus

Friday, 10 July 2020
A major UK research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients has been launched.

The PHOSP-COVID study has been awarded £8.4million jointly by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This study is one of a number of COVID-19 studies that have been given urgent public health research status by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Gisli Jenkins, Professor of Experimental Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, will share expertise with a national consortium of leading researchers and clinicians from across the UK to assess the impact of COVID-19 on patients’ health and their recovery.

Around 10,000 patients are expected to take part in the study led by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre – a partnership of the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, making it one of the largest comprehensive studies in the world to understand and improve the health of survivors after hospitalisation from COVID-19.

Professor Jenkins is an NIHR Research Professor with expertise in Respiratory medicine - particularly Pulmonary Fibrosis (Lung scarring). He is the lead for the Post COVID Lung Fibrosis working group of PHOSP-COVID.

Chris Brightling, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Leicester, Consultant Respiratory Physician at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, and chief investigator for the study said:

“As we emerge from the first wave of the pandemic, we have new insights into the acute phase of this disease but very little information about patients’ long term needs.

“It is vitally important that we rapidly gather evidence on the longer term consequences of contracting severe COVID-19 so we can develop and test new treatment strategies for them and other people affected by future waves of the disease.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 have varied among those who have tested positive: some have displayed no symptoms, while others have developed severe pneumonia and sadly even lost their lives. For those who were hospitalised and have since been discharged, it is not yet clear what the medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs for this group of patients will be to enable them to make as full a recovery as possible.

Patients on the study will be assessed using techniques such as advanced imaging, data collection and analysis of blood and lung samples, creating a comprehensive picture of the impact COVID-19 has had on longer term health outcomes across the UK.

The project is important because a large number of people who suffer from COVID-19 have persisting symptoms for a long period of time after the initial infection and the majority of those symptoms include breathlessness and fatigue which are symptoms that might indicate lung scarring. It is important that we find out whether scarring is a major problem after COVID infection as soon as possible if we are to develop strategies to treat it effectively.”
Gisli Jenkins, Professor of Experimental Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham

The PHOSP-COVID team will then develop trials of new strategies for clinical care, including personalised treatments for groups of patients based on the particular disease characteristics they show as a result of having COVID-19 to improve their long term health.

The PHOSP-COVID study is widely supported across the NIHR infrastructure, including the Translational Research Collaborations for respiratory, mental health, cardiovascular, dementia, and diet, exercise and nutrition, and many of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres, which are set up to translate lab-based scientific breakthroughs into potential new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies.

To follow the study as it develops, visit www.phosp.org.

Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Email: charlotte.anscombe@nottingham.ac.uk
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