Ground-breaking new study into long-term health impacts of coronavirus

A major UK research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients has been launched.

The PHOSP-COVID study (Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study: a national consortium to understand and improve long-term health outcomes) has been awarded £8.4million jointly by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This study is one of a number of COVID-19 studies that have been given urgent public health research status by the Department of Health and Social Care.

NIHR Imperial BRC researchers Professor Edwin Chilvers (Head of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London) and Dr Luke Howard (Consultant Pulmonologist and Lead Clinician for the Pulmonary Hypertension Service at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) will share expertise with a national consortium of leading researchers and clinicians from across the UK to assess the impact of COVID-19 on patients’ health and their recovery. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust will also be facilitating the recruitment of patients into this study with support from the NIHR Clinical Research Network North West London.

Around 10,000 patients are expected to take part in the study led by the NIHR Leicester BRC, making it one of the largest comprehensive studies in the world to understand and improve the health of survivors after hospitalisation from COVID-19.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“As we continue our fight against this global pandemic, we are learning more and more about the impact the disease can have not only on immediate health, but longer-term physical and mental health too.
“This world-leading study is another fantastic contribution from the UK’s world-leading life sciences and research sector. It will also help to ensure future treatment can be tailored as much as possible to the person.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said:
“As well as the immediate health impacts of the virus it is also important to look at the longer term impacts on health, which may be significant.
“We have rightly focused on mortality, and what the UK can do straight away to protect lives but we should also look at how COVID-19 impacts on the health of people after they have recovered from the immediate disease.
“This UKRI and NIHR funded study is one of the first steps in doing this.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 have varied among those who have tested positive: some have displayed no symptoms, while others have developed severe pneumonia and sadly even lost their lives. For those who were hospitalised and have since been discharged, it is not yet clear what the medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs for this group of patients will be to enable them to make as full a recovery as possible.

Patients will be invited to take part when they are discharged from hospital. Patients who have already been discharged from hospital will be asked to take part in the study at follow-up appointments. Once on the study, patients will be assessed using techniques such as advanced imaging, data collection and analysis of blood and lung samples, creating a comprehensive picture of the impact COVID-19 has had on longer term health outcomes across the UK.

The PHOSP-COVID team will then develop trials of new strategies for clinical care, including personalised treatments for groups of patients based on the particular disease characteristics they show as a result of having COVID-19 to improve their long term health.

To follow the study as it develops, visit

  • Dr Luke Howard
    Dr Luke Howard
    Consultant Pulmonologist
  • Professor Edwin Chilvers
    Professor Edwin Chilvers
    Emeritus Professor of Medicine, National Heart & Lung Institute
  • NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre