COVID-19 Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing National Core Study



Our understanding of long-COVID, including how best to diagnose it, risk factors for long-COVID and the health and economic consequences of long-COVID, is poor, limiting our efforts to help people.

Our research project will address the following patient defined questions:

  • What is long-COVID and how is it diagnosed?
  • Why have I got long-COVID?
  • What effects will long-COVID have on my health, ability to work and family?
  • What are my chances of recovery?
  • How will this research help ensure that people are getting the right treatment and support for long-COVID?

We will collect a combination of different kinds of information in an attempt to answer these questions, including information from:

  • Electronic health records stored in GP practices
  • Studies that track the health of large numbers of people over many years (called longitudinal studies). These longitudinal studies also contain information on things such as peoples social and economic circumstances that we know are important to understanding COVID and long-COVID.
  • We will also interview people about their experiences of COVID-19 infections and long-COVID symptoms. 
  • We will ask a group of people who identify as having long-COVID, and a group of people who do not (to provide a comparison) to wear a wrist band measuring exercise ability, breathing, and heart rate. These people will also be asked to complete an online questionnaire to collect information on mental health and the impact of what is known as ‘brain fog’. They will also be invited to a clinic for a body-imaging scan to look for any potential damage to vital organs, such as the brain, lungs and heart.

We hope that collecting this information will give us a much clearer picture of what long-COVID is, its causes and most importantly, how best to treat it.

The results will be shared with organisations involved in developing treatment guidelines (e.g. NICE, who are also part of this project), with government (via the Chief Scientific Advisor), with the public via social media and other outlets and the scientific community via research publications.

Public involvement at every stage of the project will be important to ensuring that the research is carried out ethically, in a way that is acceptable to patients and the public and so that it addresses the questions and concerns of people who suffer from long-COVID.