Sheffield experts to play leading role in new Covid-19 study

Sheffield university experts are to play a key role in a new ‘groundbreaking’ study into the long-term health impacts of coronavirus.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 8:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 8:42 pm

Researchers at the University of Sheffield are to investigate the long term impacts of Covid-19 on patients who were hospitalised during the pandemic as part of a new study to help search for treatments that will help them make a full recovery.

The national study, which has been awarded £8.4 million by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), aims to recruit 10,000 people who were discharged from hospital after testing positive for the virus.

In the UK, there have been 286,979 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 44,517 deaths as of Thursday, July 9.

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Sheffield university experts are to play a key role in groundbreaking new study into long-term health impacts of coronavirus.

The study is one of a number of coronavirus studies which have been given ‘urgent public health’ research status by the Department of Health and Social Care.

There have been varied symptoms of the disease with some who have tested positive displaying no symptoms, while others have developed severe pneumonia and lost their lives.

Researchers from across the University of Sheffield, led by the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease, will be involved in the study; bringing together experts in the fields of infectious diseases, respiratory medicine, imaging, cardiology and immunology.

Sheffield’s Principal Investigator for the study Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones said: “Although most people with Covid-19 recover completely, we are finding that some experience prolonged symptoms, such as cough, breathlessness, fever, tachycardia and fatigue, which may persist for weeks or months after the initial infection.

“Taking part in this major national study will help us to learn why some people have these late effects following infection, and to develop better strategies to help them return to full health.

"We are fortunate in Sheffield to have a world-leading imaging group, led by Professor Jim Wild, which will allow us to look in great depth at the impact of Covid-19 on the tissues and blood vessels of the lungs and heart.”

Professor Jim Wild, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease, commented: “Hopefully our techniques, made in Sheffield, for imaging the function of the lungs will help our clinical colleagues in understanding why some patients with Covid-19 suffer so badly with shortness of breath.

"With MRI scanning we can also follow up the effects of Covid-19 on the lungs and heart with time to monitor recovery and long term effects of the infection.”

Patients involved in the national PHOSP-COVID study will be assessed using advanced imaging, data collection and analysis of blood and lung samples, to create a comprehensive picture of the impact coronavirus has had on longer term health outcomes in the UK.

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty said: “As well as the immediate health impacts of the virus it is also important to look at the longer term impacts on health, which may be significant.

“We have rightly focused on mortality, and what the UK can do straight away to protect lives but we should also look at how Covid-19 impacts on the health of people after they have recovered from the immediate disease.”

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