New research to improve our understanding of inflammation in long Covid could help to unlock potential future treatments.
Dr Sean Knight has been awarded a BMA Foundation grant for his work in long Covid, which centres on the role of the immune system. He is a specialist registrar in respiratory medicine at Salford Royal and an Academic Clinical Lecturer at The University of Manchester.
Up to 70 per cent of patients hospitalised for Covid-19 pneumonitis have persistent symptoms several months after the acute infection. Often, no discernible organ damage is found, and patients are diagnosed with long Covid.
Dr Knight explained: “Given the scale of immune dysregulation in acute Covid-19, it is expected that parts of the immune system will stay activated for some time.
“We have previously defined the key innate and adaptive immune signatures associated with acute Covid-19 and have now collected blood samples from our patients as they recover.
“This funding will be used to compare the rate of recovery of Covid-19 immune signatures in patients who have made a full recovery to those developing long Covid. Identifying the key pathways associated with long Covid will provide insight to drive further mechanistic work, as well as identify potential therapeutic targets.
Dr Knight is the recipient of the BMA Foundation’s 2022 J Moulton grant, one of just 12 grants awarded by the Foundation. This funding will continue the collaboration between The University of Manchester and Northern Care Alliance for Covid-19 research, which includes many colleagues at both institutions, particularly Professor Nawar Bakerly (NCA) and Professor Tracy Hussell (UoM).
- Dr Knight is also the lead researcher of our Covid-19 tissue collection (NCA009) and is an advocate for the collection and use of samples for biomedical research with our Respiratory Collection (NCA008).