Pioneering Coronavirus research finds long term effects of virus on patients


The first stage results of our research project into the long terms effects of Coronavirus on patients who recover from the virus have now been published, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

Results from the DISCOVER project so far found that three quarters of our patients who had recovered from Coronavirus reported ongoing symptoms three months after discharge, with many still experiencing poor quality of life.

It is through your help that this greater scientific understanding of the virus is possible. Our fantastic supporters have already provided an incredible £66,000 to fund this project.

The research team here at North Bristol NHS Trust found that 81 out of 110 discharged patients were still experiencing symptoms such as breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches when invited back to clinic.

Many were also suffering from poor quality of life compared to the rest of the population, struggling to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing or going back to work.

Most of the patients did, however, report improvements in their initial symptoms of fever, cough and loss of sense of smell. Reassuringly, the majority of patients had no evidence of lung scarring or reductions in lung function.

The findings came as part of the preliminary results of the DISCOVER project, the first of its kind, into the longer-term effects of coronavirus. The DISCOVER project is one of the three Coronavirus research projects that we are supporting thanks to the support of our donors.

“There’s still so much we don’t know about the long term effects of coronavirus, but this study has given us vital new insight into what challenges patients may face in their recovery and will help us prepare for those needs.

“We’re pleased that researchers at Southmead Hospital are leading the way, and hope our findings can help patients and their GPs understand the course of post-COVID illness and the role of routine tests.”

Dr Rebecca Smith, Deputy Director of Research and Innovation at North Bristol NHS Trust

The research is due to continue here at Southmead, with our hard-working researchers collaborating with the University of Bristol to look at the participant blood tests, rehabilitation therapies and psychological support.

“This research helps to describe what many coronavirus patients have been telling us: they are still breathless, tired, and not sleeping well months after admission. Reassuringly, however, abnormalities on X-rays and breathing tests are rare in this group. Further work in the DISCOVER project will help us to understand why this is, and how we can help coronavirus sufferers.”

Dr David Arnold, DISCOVER Research Project Lead

We still need your help

Although this is a significant step, there is still so much that we do not know about this virus. Your support will help up fund more research into Covid-19, including the next stages of the DISCOVER project.

“We are proud to have been able to support this vital research project which has already enabled clinicians to develop their understanding of this disease and its longer term effects.

“This research firmly puts Bristol at the heart of advancing the knowledge of coronavirus and how it shapes the medical landscape going forward.

“These latest findings from the DISCOVER team show that more work is needed to support patients and the NHS longer term and it is donations from the public and our supporters that will enable us to continue to support that important work.”

Sarah Harrison, Director of Southmead Hospital Charity

Find out more about how you can support Coronavirus research in Bristol.

Thank you for your support – it makes a huge difference to our patients, their families and our staff.

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