Study to focus on long-term health of people who have had coronavirus

Scientist Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A study is to examine the long-term health of people who have had coronavirus.

The Covid in Scotland Study (CISS) will begin recruiting soon, funded by the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office and led by the University of Glasgow.

Researchers hope to identify how many people in Scotland continue to be unwell after having the virus, known as long Covid, as well as what their symptoms are and how it affects their lives.

Professor Jill Pell, professor of public health at the University of Glasgow, will lead the study in collaboration with Public Health Scotland and the NHS in Scotland.

She said: “Most people recover quickly and completely after infection with Covid-19, but some people have reported a wide variety of long-term problems.

“It is crucial that we find out how many people have long-term problems, and what those problems are, so that we can set up systems to spot problems early and deal with them effectively.”

Using NHS health data records, all Scottish adults who have had a positive test – as well a sample of people who tested negative for the disease – will be sent a text message inviting them to take part.

If they agree, individuals will be asked to use a specially designed app to answer questions about their health, before and after Covid-19, and whether the virus has had any lasting effects on their lives.

Participants who tested negative will be asked similar questions about their current and past health so researchers can compare answers with those who had the virus.

Chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith Credit: Scottish Government/PA

Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said: “We recognise the longer term impacts Covid-19 is having on the physical and mental wellbeing of people in Scotland.

“Government, clinicians, specialist healthcare professionals and third sector organisations are working hard to ensure people have access to the support they need for assessment, diagnosis, care and rehabilitation in a setting that is as close to their home as possible.

“This new study will be a valuable tool to help us learn more about the effects of what is still a relatively new illness and ensure people receive the best possible treatment and care.

“If you are contacted to take part in the study I would strongly encourage you to participate – your insight will be extremely valuable.”