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NIHR to fund research on treatment pathways for long Covid


By Rachel Carter
30 March 2021

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A second call for research proposals on the treatment and management of long Covid has been launched by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The Institute will award up to £20m to research on treatments, health services and diagnostics for people with long Covid who have not been unwell enough to be admitted to hospital.

It is seeking proposals on four key areas, including pharmaceutical treatments and non-pharmaceutical therapies, treatment pathways and service management for health, community, and social care services, and on diagnostic tests for the condition.  

The Institute will also consider proposals on ‘other topics’ to help people with long Covid.

This comes after the NIHR and UK Research and Innovation announced four new studies in February to better understand and address the longer-term effects of Covid on physical and mental health, while two other projects on post-Covid rehabilitation were funded in December.

Earlier this month, an evidence review published by the Institute found at least one in 10 patients experience ongoing symptoms three months after Covid-19 infection.

It also found that around 20-30% of people who had the virus but were not admitted to hospital experience at least one enduring symptom around one month later.

The latest research call will fund projects designed to deliver ‘rapid tangible outcomes’, which can last up to two years in length and will be expected to start in June or July, the NIHR said.

Proposals on therapies and interventions, and on management and evaluation of services, should be submitted by 22 April. The deadline for proposals on diagnostics, and on other topics to help and support people with long Covid is 12 May.

Last November, NHS England announced plans to launch more than 40 long Covid clinics to support the thousands of people experiencing long-term symptoms from the virus.

A taskforce involving charities, researchers and clinicians was also established to help manage the NHS’ approach long Covid and improve wider understanding of the condition.

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