Therapies for Long COVID in non-hospitalised individuals: the TLC Study

A major new £2.2m government-funded research project to improve the treatment, causes and symptoms of Long COVID in non-hospitalised patients.

Major £2.2m research project launched to investigate 'Long COVID'
The TLC Study | Therapies for Long COVID

COVID-19 has knocked me sideways, with a long and debilitating battle since initially becoming ill in March last year... Each day is baby steps in terms of recovery, but almost one year on I am still battling a myriad of symptoms from memory loss to difficulties breathing, pins and needles, and immobility.

Long COVID Sufferer

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Summary

Approximately 1 in 10 people with COVID-19 continue to experience symptoms and impaired quality of life beyond 12 weeks, which is known as ‘Long COVID’.  Common Long COVID symptoms include, extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, ‘brain fog’, insomnia, heart palpitations, dizziness, pins and needles, joint pain, depression, anxiety, tinnitus, earaches, nausea, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite, a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, and changes to sense of smell or taste.

Through a partnership with the Clinical Practice Research Datalink using electronic GP records, the University of Birmingham-led team will identify and recruit thousands of non-hospitalised patients with Long COVID who have had symptoms for 12 weeks or longer to a major clinical digital study.

At the heart of the study will be the use of a digital platform, called Atom5™ from med-tech company Aparito Limited, which will be configured for the study by experts from the University of Birmingham with patient input. Participating patients will be given access to the digital platform, allowing them to self-report symptoms, quality of life and work capability.

A subgroup of patients will receive blood and other biological tests to understand the immunology of Long COVID, and will wear a device that will measure their heart rate, oxygen saturation, step count and sleep quality.

Using their findings, the researchers will co-produce with patients a targeted intervention for Long COVID, tailored to individual patient need.  Delivered remotely in the community, via the Atom5TM app, it will provide critical support and information to empower patients in self-managing long COVID. In addition, they will provide tailored resources to support symptom management and nurse-led support for those with the severest symptoms.

The researchers will also use the digital platform to assess whether the treatments and supportive interventions reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and are good value for money.

All data gathered will be used to help the scientists characterise the symptoms, health impacts, and underlying causes of Long COVID syndromes in non-hospitalised patients – providing invaluable insight not currently available.

Contact us

Email TLC Study

Journalists can arrange interviews by contacting Emma McKinney, Media Relations Manager, University of Birmingham. Alternatively, contact the Press Office out of hours on +44 (0)7789 921165.

Frequently asked questions

I have been experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID, can I be recruited to the study?

Thank you for your interest in the study. We are very sorry to hear that you have been experiencing long-term symptoms from COVID-19.

We are recruiting people to our study through a national NHS database;therefore, we cannot directly recruit you to the study.

We are however keen to involve people who have experienced Long COVID in the development of the research and to disseminate the findings. If you would like to be involved, please contact Lee Aiyegbusi O.L.Aiyegbusi@bham.ac.uk.

Where can I get more information about recovering from Long COVID?

How have you involved patients and members of the public in the design and delivery of the study?

In addition to recruiting people to take part in the study, we are collaborating with patient partners in the design and delivery of the study.A dedicated team of people who have experienced Long COVID are working alongside the TLC research team to provide valuable insight and feedback.

If you would like to be involved, please contact Lee Aiyegbusi.

Who is funding the research?

The research is funded through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and follows a UK-wide joint research call to fund ambitious and comprehensive Long COVID research. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Funded by NIHR | National Institute for Health Research

UKRI | UK Research and Innovation

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