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1st December 2021

Patients in Wales can play a key role in understanding long Covid

Long Covid patients, and those involved in their care, can take part in life-changing research studies to help find new treatments for the condition. A new report from the Wales COVID-19 Evidence Centre (WCEC) summarises nine studies which are, or will be, looking for volunteers in Wales.

In the UK, an estimated 1.2 million people have long Covid, the name given to COVID-19 symptoms, like shortness of breath, tiredness, ‘brain fog’ and muscle aches, when they last for weeks or months after the infection has gone. Currently, there is little research evidence about which treatments can help ease symptoms or cure the condition which can be debilitating.

Getting a better understanding of long Covid through the vital research happening in Wales will help develop new ways to treat and care for these patients, and improve lives. Having members of the public take part in these studies is essential to making this happen.

By reading the report, patients can learn about all the long Covid studies happening in Wales, and how they can take part in this crucial research, including studies looking at:

  • Understanding the long-term effects on patients who have been hospitalised with COVID-19 (PHOSP-COVID).
  • Identifying treatments which will prevent new COVID-19 symptoms from developing and reduce disability from the disease (HEAL-COVID).
  • Enabling patients to self-manage some of the key symptoms to speed up recovery (LISTEN)
  • Interviewing patients to better understand their experience of long Covid.

Sharon Frayling, Research Team Lead at the University Hospital in Wales, who is working on the HEAL-COVID study said: “Long Covid really has a detrimental effect on patients’ lives, we’ve seen patients who can’t work, go for a walk or complete daily tasks like walking up the stairs in their house without struggling to breathe. It can completely flip their lives upside down.

“Research studies like HEAL-COVID are so important, we want to improve our patients’ chances of living without COVID-19 symptoms in the weeks or months after they’ve been discharged from hospital. Research is the only way we can find those life-changing treatments patients need, so we make sure every eligible patient has the chance to take part in this research.”

The WCEC was created March 2021 by Health and Care Research Wales on behalf of Welsh Government to review the wealth of vital COVID-19 research available, to make sure the evidence used to make COVID-19 health and social care decisions is up-to-date and relevant to Wales.

Professor Adrian Edwards, Director of the Wales COVID-19 Evidence Centre, said: “We believe the long Covid studies available to people in Wales are going to deliver the best possible evidence about how services can be designed to meet the needs of all groups of patients with long Covid.

“Research is absolutely key to being able to treat long Covid effectively and to potentially being able to prevent it. We want to help people to return to their normal lives.”

To keep up to date with all the COVID-19 studies happening in Wales visit our COVID-19 webpage.