Thursday 18 February 2021 1:44 pm

Government plugs £18.5m into Long Covid research

The government has pledged to invest £18.5m into research projects looking at the long-term effects of coronavirus, also known as Long Covid.

The funding will support four studies seeking to identify the causes of Long Covid and potential treatments for people with chronic side-effects.

Read more: Coronavirus cases fall across England ahead of lockdown easing announcement

Imperial College London will receive the bulk of the funding to undertake a REACT study over the course of three years looking into the long-term symptoms of coronavirus.

Around 1 in 10 people who have been infected with coronavirus continue to experience symptoms beyond 12 weeks, according to the British Medical Journal.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, “Long Covid can present with clusters of symptoms that are often overlapping and/or fluctuating.”

A preliminary review of the disease has so far highlighted 55 different long-term effects. 

Common symptoms of Long Covid include breathlessness, headaches, cough, fatigue and cognitive impairment or “brain fog”, with some emerging evidence that some people experience organ damage.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: I am acutely aware of the lasting and debilitating impact long Covid can have on people of all ages, irrespective of the extent of the initial symptoms.

“In order to effectively help these individuals we need to better understand long four ambitious projects to do just that.”

It comes after the Prime Minister this morning faced fresh calls from MPs to compensate key workers suffering from Long Covid.

A total of 65 MPs and peers have signed a letter to the PM demanding it be recognised as an occupational disease, meaning workers would be entitled to protection and compensation if they contracted the virus while working.

Read more: Coronavirus: Who will get the Covid-19 vaccine next?

Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, said the government should not abandon “the true heroes of the pandemic”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “These are people who we went out to clap for every Thursday evening… and find themselves unable to do their work, having spent their time saving lives. It is entirely right to protect their livelihoods.”