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King's College London researcher receives funding to study ‘Long-COVID’

Dr Tim Nicholson, a Clinical Lecturer at the King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), has received £140,000 funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

9. KCL long COVID fundingResearchers at King’s College London, in collaboration with Imperial College London and the University of Liverpool, have received a funding grant worth almost £140,000 to develop a unified approach to measuring improvement in ‘Long-COVID’ patients. This research will bring together perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including researchers, clinicians and patients to ensure understanding of the outcomes that matter most.

Currently, treatment trials for ‘Long-COVID’ use different methods to measure improvement among participants, making it difficult to compare results across studies. Developing an agreed framework will help to overcome this problem, while also aiding clinicians in measuring the aspects of ‘Long-COVID’ that matter the most to patients and other healthcare professionals.

To do this, the project team will create Core Outcome Sets which specify what measurements should be taken in all patients. The researchers will build on the existing framework: Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials, to assemble global experts from relevant areas of research and medicine, patients and other stakeholders, to compare perspectives and agree on an approach.

The study will primarily focus on determining how to measure these core outcomes and which assessment methods should be used. The team will then share the agreed measures with key groups including healthcare professionals, researchers, ‘Long-COVID’ patients and the public.

Dr Timothy Nicholson, King's College London IoPPN, said:

During this project, we will be developing a Core Outcome Set (COS) for ‘Long-COVID’. This is an important step in deciding best how to measure improvement in this disorder and optimise the ability to combine and compare data across research studies.

Paula Williamson, Professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Liverpool, added:

We will be using robust methodology to achieve this, as recommended by the COMET Initiative, using surveys to achieve consensus between clinicians, researchers, patients, carers and other key stakeholders on how to measure this complex disorder.

Imperial College London’s Dr Munblit, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the National Heart and Lung Institute, said:

We have brought together experts from across the UK to work with international colleagues from the World Health Organisation and large international COVID studies, such as the ISARIC consortium, to achieve consensus on the design of research studies addressing this disorder with a major global impact.

Liked this article? Discover how clinicians in ‘Long-COVID’ clinics are carrying out mental health screenings to improve care for patients.

Read more about King’s Health Partners COVID-19 response.