The role of the immune system in developing fatigue following COVID-19 infection.

Disease - COVID-19, chronic fatigue

Lead applicant -  Professor Frances Williams

Organisation -  King’s College London

Type of grant - Special Strategic Award

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £50,000.00

Start date - 01 June 2020

Reference - 22606

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research? 

Fatigue is an extreme, sometimes overwhelming, physical and mental tiredness, that doesn’t significantly improve with rest or sleep. It’s a common symptom associated with arthritis and has also emerged as a frequent symptom of COVID-19 infection. This research, co-funded with the Kennedy Trust, will investigate the role of the immune system in the development, severity and persistence of fatigue following COVID-19 infection.

Why is this research important? 

One of the challenges in understanding the role of the immune system in the development of fatigue in musculoskeletal conditions, is that researchers do not normally know what the system was like before they developed the condition (and fatigue). There’s now an opportunity to be able to get a large amount of data from people who have developed fatigue (due to COVID-19), which could help us to understand fatigue in arthritis and related conditions.

In this project, researchers are collecting data from groups of people who have already had their immune systems studied (as part of previous studies), to see what has changed following COVID-19 infection and understand what makes some people more likely to experience fatigue.

How will the findings benefit patients? 

By understanding the role of the immune system in the development of chronic fatigue following COVID-19 infection, researchers hope to provide insight into fatigue in musculoskeletal conditions. This could inspire new research in the area, help the development of new treatments and improve quality of life for people with arthritis.