Researchers at King’s, in collaboration with Imperial College London and the University of Liverpool, have received a funding grant to develop a unified approach to measuring improvement in Long COVID patients which will bring together perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including researchers, clinicians and patients.
Dr Tim Nicholson, a Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), has received National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding worth almost £140,000.
Currently, treatment trials for long COVID use different methods to measure improvement among participants, making it difficult to compare results across studies. Developing an agreed framework will help to overcome this problem, while also aiding clinicians in measuring the aspects of long COVID that matter the most to patients and other healthcare professionals.
To do this, the project team will create Core Outcome Sets (known as a ‘COS’) which specify what measurements should be taken in all patients. The researchers will build on the existing ‘COMET’ (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) framework to assemble global experts from relevant areas of research and medicine, as well as patients and other stakeholders, to compare perspectives and agree on an approach.
The study will primarily focus on determining how to measure these core outcomes and which assessment methods should be used. The team will then share the agreed COS with key groups including healthcare professionals, researchers, long COVID patients and the public.
“During this project, we will be developing a Core Outcome Set (COS) for long COVID. This is an important step in deciding best how to measure improvement in this disorder and optimise the ability to combine and compare data across research studies.”– Dr Timothy Nicholson, King's IoPPN
Paula Williamson, Professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Liverpool, added: “We will be using robust methodology to achieve this, as recommended by the COMET Initiative, using surveys to achieve consensus between clinicians, researchers, patients, carers and other key stakeholders on how to measure this complex disorder.”
Imperial’s Dr Munblit, Honorary Senior Lecturer at the National Heart and Lung Institute, said: “We have brought together experts from across the UK to work with international colleagues from the World Health Organisation and large international COVID studies, such as the ISARIC consortium, to achieve consensus on the design of research studies addressing this disorder with a major global impact.”
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