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Long Covid Research Appeal – how your support is helping

Last month, we launched our Long Covid Research Appeal, to support researchers at Nottingham’s hospitals investigating the effects and possible treatments for Long Covid.

With one in five Covid-19 sufferers experiencing Long Covid symptoms five weeks after an initial infection, symptoms can include fatigue, chest pain, memory loss and depression. More research into the treatment of the condition is vital, and Nottingham Hospitals Charity aims to raise £50,000 to help fund the work.

Research is being led by a team of experts in Nottingham, the results of which will be shared nationally to help improve treatment for patients experiencing Long Covid across the UK.

Money raised through the appeal so far is helping to fund a special study aiming to understand the causes of fatigue – one of the most widespread and debilitating effects of Long Covid.

The study is being led by Professor Charlotte Bolton, who explains:

“Our in-depth study is particularly looking to understand the cause of fatigue for Long Covid patients. The symptom of fatigue is reported commonly by patients recovering from Covid-19. We’re taking a whole-body approach to fatigue and looking at the muscles, the heart, the lungs and the brain, and the part that these all play in causing the fatigue.”

The study involves scanning a patient in an MRI scanner while they are at rest, with researchers studying their muscles and the structure of their heart, lungs and brain. Then, in a unique aspect of the study, the patient begins exercising within the MRI scanner – this involves them using a stepping machine to mimic walking, so that researchers can study the muscles and other organs during and after exercise.

Prof Bolton explained:

“This will help us understand why everyday exercise, like simply walking around the house, can be so fatiguing for patients with Long Covid. We want to understand what’s happening inside the body and the processes, so we can then understand what is needed in order to help bring patients back to full health.”

With your support, Nottingham Hospitals Charity is able to help fund this unique research study. Prof Bolton said:

“This kind of study is not being done anywhere else – ours is the only exercise-related MRI study in the country, and we are lucky to have state-of-the-art, unrivalled MRI techniques and access here in Nottingham. It is key that these techniques give us a far better understanding in order to then be able to identify treatments that then help patients.”

Talking about the need for more research, Prof Bolton added:

“Some people might think Long Covid only affects older people, but we’ve got patients in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are still disabled after having Covid-19. Unless we focus on treating this now, there is a concern that they are going to end up with chronic health conditions as they get older. The need for this is now.

Please support our Long Covid Research Appeal today and make a real difference to patients here in Nottingham, and across the UK.