Long Covid: Long-term effects of coronavirus include damage to heart, liver, kidneys - Oxford study reveals

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Martha Fairlie

Damage to the heart, liver and kidney are just a few of the long-term effects of Covid-19, according to a Oxford-based study.

Academics have already warned people could suffer from the impact of having coronavirus for years, with many experiencing prolonged symptoms.

Now, a joint national research programme between the EU, and private companies Innovate UK and Perspectum, called COVERSCAN is analysing the effects of Covid-19 on the body's key organs.

The study began in April and it has now detailed the first conclusions made from the data so far - the preliminary results confirm that Covid-19 can cause significant organ damage.

The exact extent, and expected long-term impact, of this organ damage has not been fully characterised and that's what the study is aiming to find out. 

What is long Covid and what are the symptoms?

Sufferers are reporting a huge spectrum of problems, including severe fatigue, breathlessness, muscle aches, joint pain, 'brain fog,' memory loss, a lack of concentration, as well as depression and mental health problems.

Hair loss has even been reported among some 'long haulers'. 

The first data from patients recovering from Covid-19 (160 patients, three months post diagnosis, 79% non-hospitalised) reveals many patients had measurable organ damage - even amongst those not hospitalised.

The study also found many patients who have had Covid-19, especially men, have subnormal heart pumping function.  

"Through this study, we want to gain a better understanding of the impact of this disease by mapping the extent of organ health.  In doing so, we hope to further support global efforts in planning for ongoing health-care needs," said Mary Xu, Head of Clinical Affairs at Perspectum.

"The COVERSCAN study has been designed to safely assess patients, using non-invasive imaging, with minimal risk to all involved."