The PHOSP-COVID study has been awarded £8.4 million jointly by UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research. It 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.
Led nationally by the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, the PHOSP-COVID study will draw on expertise from a consortium of leading researchers and clinicians from 25 partner organisations across the UK to assess the impact of Covid-19 on patient health and their recovery. Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities are the other Scottish institutions taking part.
Around 10,000 patients, including over 1000 from Scotland, are expected to take part, making it the largest comprehensive study in the world to understand and improve the health of survivors after hospitalisation from Covid-19.
Prof Chalmers, British Lung Foundation Professor of Respiratory Research at the university, said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of patients reporting long-term consequences of Covid-19 infection. This award from UKRI and NIHR is vital, as it will allow us to support these patients in the right way while conducting vital research to find what treatments and rehabilitation approaches will aid recovery.
“Many of my patients feel forgotten because all of the focus has been on treating and preventing the immediate effects of the virus. The message today is that you have not been forgotten and those patients still struggling weeks and months after Covid are going to get the support and research they need.”
The study aims to understand why some people recover more quickly than others and why some patients develop subsequent health problems, as well as identifying the most effective treatments received in hospital or afterwards, and how to improve patient care after they are discharged from hospital.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This world-leading study is another fantastic contribution from the UK’s world-leading life sciences and research sector.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “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. This UKRI and NIHR-funded study is one of the first steps in doing this.”