Cardiff University will look at role of immune system as part of £20m long-Covid study
Cardiff University will look at the role that the immune system plays in the development of long-Covid as part of a larger £20m study.
The university’s study will focus on whether overactive or impaired immune responses could drive long-Covid by causing widespread inflammation.
It is hoped that thousands of people suffering with long-Covid will benefit from the new research programmes to help better understand the condition, improve diagnosis and find new treatments.
The Cardiff study is one of 15 funded by the National Institute for Health Research.
The latest research shows that although many people make a full recovery following COVID-19, a significant proportion of people continue to experience chronic symptoms for months.
Long-Covid was cited by First Minister Mark Drakeford as a key reason why Wales would not be following England in a ‘freedom day’ that would scrap all restrictions, for the time being.
“It’s one of our reasons for hesitation in the current circumstances because while the link between falling ill and hospitalisation has undoubtedly been amended by vaccination, large numbers of people falling ill in the community is not to be dismissed as though that wasn’t a matter of continuing concern,” he told the Senedd last week.
“Because the more people who fall ill in the community, the greater the risk there will be that some of those people too will then suffer not just a temporary or minor illness, but an illness that will live with them for weeks and months beyond.”
The 15 research projects backed by the £20m grant will focus on:
- Better understanding the condition of long-Covid and identifying it
- Evaluating the effectiveness of different care services
- Better integrating specialist, hospital and community services for those suffering with long COVID
- Identifying effective treatments, such as drugs, rehabilitation and recovery to treat people suffering from chronic symptoms
- Improving home monitoring and self-management of symptoms, including looking at the impact of diet, and
- Identifying and understanding the effect of particular symptoms of long COVID, such as breathlessness, reduced ability to exercise and brain fog
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said that he hoped that the Cardiff study would play its part in mitigating the impact of long-Covid.
“The development and distribution of the vaccine means we can now see an end to the pandemic and Wales has played a significant part via Wrexham’s Wockhardt facility where the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continues to be produced,” he said.
“Following this investment I hope Cardiff University can play a similarly important role in understanding and countering the long-term effects of the virus as we emerge from the pandemic.”