Researchers and clinicians in Glasgow will lead a global study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19.
The international, multi-site study is launched by ISARIC to measure prevalence and risk factors of long-term health and psychosocial consequences of COVID-19. The researchers are inviting hospitals and healthcare sites worldwide to join this new study.
The ISARIC Global COVID-19 follow-up working group is led by Dr Janet Scott, of the MRC-University of Glasgow’s Centre for Virus Research. The study protocol and associated patient survey has been developed by the ISARIC global COVID-19 follow-up working group, in collaboration with the WHO. The working group includes clinicians and research colleagues from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Ghana, Italy, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Sierra Leone and a wide range of experts in infectious diseases, rheumatology, neurology, intensive care, oncology, public health, psychology and rehabilitation. The patient survey has been designed to assess long-term health and psychosocial consequences of COVID-19 at serial intervals for up to three to five years, depending on resources.
Dr Scott said: “It is vitally important that we are able to understand the long-term risk factors and health conditions associated with COVID-19, in order to ensure we are delivering the very best healthcare to patients in the long term”. “In order to do this, the assessment of risk factors for longer term consequences requires a longitudinal study, with data on pre-existing conditions and care received during the acute phase of the COVID-19 illness all linked together.”
The survey has been developed to allow patients to complete by self-assessment online, or via post, or during a telephone or in-clinic assessment. This dedicated form is especially designed for collecting data on health and psychosocial complications. It may be used on its own for data collection, or in combination with sampling for immunology, pathophysiology and other studies.
Dr. Daniel Munblit, Associate Professor, Sechenov University, Russia says “researchers in the international working group, from across the world have been able to meet on virtual platforms and have together developed these research tools which we can then make open access to all of our Global partners. International collaboration is really now coming into its own.”
Louise Sigfrid (ISARIC-Oxford) said: “Currently, very little is known about possible clinical and psychosocial sequelae that may persist in patients after recovering from acute COVID-19 A recent study from Italy of 143 patients after hospitalisation with COVID-19, showed that 87% had at least one ongoing symptom after 60 days. It will be interesting to see what results come from larger groups of patients from different populations.”
Dr. Luis Felipe Reyes, Head of the Infectious Diseases Department, Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia, says: “Long term implications of pulmonary infections have been well known for several years. Physicians often believe that the implications of lower respiratory tract infections end when patients survive the acute infection. However, this initial insult to the lungs causes cardiovascular complications, disability, and overall increased mortality up to 10 years after the acute episode. Therefore, understanding the factors associated with the long-term consequences of COVID-19 may help clinicians to prevent these complications, improving the quality of life of COVID-19 survivors. This study will bring generalizable data to the world and important implications for science and patient care”.
The follow-up data will be linked to acute-phase data from a sub-set of patients in the cohort of more than 85,000 in-patients (as of 20 July 2020) with COVID-19 documented in the ISARIC COVID-19 database. By standardising data collection tools it will enable combined analysis across multiple-sites. The tools are open-access and we encourage sites globally to adopt and adapt the tools to their context.
This collaborative, open access study aims to characterise the frequency of and risk factors for long term consequences from COVID-19. It will also characterise the immune response over time in patients following a diagnosis of COVID-19 and facilitate standardised and longitudinal data collection globally.