About the Study

Convalescence long COVID Study

Coronavirus post-acute long-term effects: constructing an evidence base (Convalescence Study)

Convalescence is a NIHR-UKRI funded study (3 years from March 2021) that will use data from established population cohorts and national anonymised electronic health records to achieve the following aims.

There are 4 Research Themes:

  • Long COVID definition
  • Long COVID risk
  • Long COVID outcomes
  • Methods to improve long COVID diagnosis and management


  • How can we best define long COVID?
  • What are its risk factors and mechanistic pathways?
  • What are the consequences for physical and mental health, and for work, education and social and familial relations?
  • Can we enhance diagnosis and management through GP records?
  • Convalescence is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between many universities and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

These will allow us to:

  • Create an evidence-based definition of long COVID sub-phenotypes
  • Identify new and bespoke interventions to support people with long COVID informed by understanding mechanisms of different long COVID phenotypes
  • Inform interventions at the time of infection, and assist in planning of health care services
  • Improve care and support for people with long COVID

Our research approach includes:

  • Analysis of existing data in national anonymised electronic health records and longitudinal studies
  • Parallel qualitative interviews of study participants
  • Detailed phenotyping of long COVID cases and controls from longitudinal studies via
    • Non-invasive imaging of brain, heart, lungs & muscles
    • Remote monitoring of mental and cognitive health
    • Wearables to assess physical capability and sleep
  • Pilot primary care record pop-up reminders for diagnosis and management in collaboration with NICE
  • Participant and public involvement and engagement throughout the research

‘Convalescence embraces the recovery of a multitude of physiological processes in an individual who has suffered from trauma, disease, or an operation. These various physiological processes recover at different rates and the recovery of many is not manifested by any marked objective or subjective signs. There finally comes a time when the patient is conscious of his return to normal and is again ready for work. This transformation from illness to health is often dramatic and is frequently not accompanied by any sign which the physician can detect. The study of convalescence is concerned with the analysis of these disturbances.’

Robert W. Keeton, F.A.C.P., Warren H. Cole, Nathaniel Calloway, Nathaniel Glickman, H. H. Mitchell, J. Dyniewicz, D. Howes