Long Covid study could give Leicester sufferer 'life back'

Clare Elliott
Clare Elliott, 33, contracted Covid-19 in February 2020 [BBC]

A woman taking part in a study testing a drug's impact on long Covid symptoms says she hopes the medicine will give her "some of my life back".

Clare Elliott, 33, contracted Covid-19 in February 2020 and has suffered symptoms ever since.

She has joined a study launched by the University of Leicester testing the effectiveness of drug tocilizumab.

Associate professor Dr Rachael Evans said the drug could improve the quality of life for those who have long Covid.

Long Covid - symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks after a Covid infection - is thought to have affected millions of people around the world.

Tocilizumab may be effective in treating patients by reducing inflammation, thereby improving symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, brain fog and pain.

Ms Elliott, from Glenfield, said she hopes the study will help alleviate some of her symptoms. The research will involve 152 patients at 15 different sites across the UK, including Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

"It's now impacted every part of my life - even being able to leave the house," said Ms Elliott.

"I've got breathing issues, heart rate issues, cognitive issues, fatigue. Every part of my body is impacted.

"I just hope the study will help ease some of the symptoms so that I can get some of my life back and that it might help lead to other discoveries to help people with long Covid.

"There are so many of us out here suffering, and we need some help."

Dr Rachael Evans
Dr Rachael Evans is leading the investigation in to the use of tocilizumab [BBC]

The latest study follows research by PHOSP-COVID, a national consortium led by experts funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, and Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.

Ms Elliott suffers from inflammatory long Covid, a form of the condition which has been found by the nationally-recognised group to leave markers in the blood.

The study found the presence of certain proteins increased the risk of specific symptoms, such as fatigue, in people sick enough to need hospital treatment.

Long Covid symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • extreme tiredness

  • feeling short of breath

  • problems with memory and concentration - or brain fog

Others can include:

  • sleeping problems

  • loss of smell

  • anxiety

Dr Evans, who is leading the new study, said: "We found that there are these different processes that are causing long Covid.

"We really have to strive to find even more about those processes that are driving long Covid and then which medications and other treatments will actually help improve the quality of life for people with long Covid.

"We still think that this is a treatable condition, we just need to find what those treatments are."

Follow BBC Leicester on Facebook, on X, or on Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk or via WhatsApp on 0808 100 2210.