Study by North East academics prompts more research into Long Covid

A study by North East academics has prompted calls to pinpoint key areas of research into Long Covid.

Newcastle University led the study which is advising international bodies of the research priorities which have been identified to address the long-term effects of COVID-19 in airways diseases, such as in Cystic Fibrosis, asthma and COPD.  

Symptoms of Long Covid can include:

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain or tightness

  • Joint pain

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

Professor Tony De Soyza, professor of Pulmonary medicine at Newcastle University who led the research on behalf of the International Group of Airways Diseases, said: “The challenges of long Covid cannot be understated – this is an entirely new disease which we need to understand better so we can treat better.”  

Professor De Soyza, who is also an Honorary Consultant Physician at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This international and patient focussed roadmap must help direct research efforts. As this is unknown territory it is really helpful that we now know what the key areas are to focus on from an international and patient perspective.” 

The research found the top 5 priorities for patients and the research community were:

  • Understanding if the severity of COVID 19 as an inpatient was linked to poorer recovery after discharge

  • Understanding whether those with airways diseases had worse problems long-term as compared to those who did not have airway problems

  • Finding out how often complications such as heart attacks or stroke occurred after suffering from acute COVID

  • Identifying which patients with acute COVID were likely to be readmitted to hospital

  • Developing tools to help monitor patients symptoms at home

The work was funded by Health Data Research UK BREATHE Hub, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). 


Dr Samantha Walker, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Director of Research and Innovation, said: “We’re really pleased that these research priorities, which will guide the direction of future research into the long-term effects of COVID-19 on respiratory diseases, have been developed with patient needs at their heart.