For researchers

Identifying post-COVID research priorities and funding opportunities

Research priorities
Patient involvement in research
Resource hub


Research is urgently needed to understand the lasting impact of COVID-19 on people’s respiratory health. To do this we need to develop a list of research priorities, build collaborations to accelerate insights and increase funding in this field.

Research priorities

Help define priorities for research on post-COVID lung damage

Early studies suggest COVID-19 may leave some people with lung problems or damage upon discharge. It is not yet known whether this is due to the virus or complications from intensive care.

Some studies suggest that people can develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) during the acute infection, and post-ARDS complications. These people may need further monitoring and rehabilitation after discharge. You can find the latest evidence in our Resource Hub.

While most research efforts have been rightly focused on diagnosis, acute treatment and vaccination (see WHO Global Research Roadmap), there has been less focus to date on the people who may be left with breathing difficulties and require extensive rehabilitation and support.

We are aware of some studies, but there may need to be many more.

Potential areas of research and innovation need could include:

  • Establishing if COVID-19 directly causes medium to long-term lung damage.
  • Developing new treatments that prevent the deterioration of lungs in the acute presentation of the virus.
  • Rapidly understanding the different types of lung damage post-COVID, including the cohort of patients whose previous conditions have been considerably worsened by COVID.
  • Understanding the mental impact of post COVID lung damage.
  • Developing and optimising the diagnostics and treatments to support different groups affected by post-COVID breathlessness.
  • Creating the tools to help people to self-manage their long-term recovery.


Funding major research programmes on post-COVID lung damage

The long-term impact on the respiratory health of some people who survive COVID-19 could be considerable

We need some of the significant funding that has been allocated to COVID-19 to be directed to the impact of COVID-19 on people’s long-term respiratory health.

This means research and innovation funders need to act now to create funding programmes to:

  • support researchers to assess the scale of the problem for respiratory
  • develop the necessary infrastructure to identify and monitor people with respiratory issues
  • promote innovation to meet the scale of demand for people with medium to long-term post-COVID respiratory complications
  • enable the international collaborations to learn from patients in other countries who have already begun the long road to recovery.

Patient involvement in research

Patient involvement in post-COVID research

Asthma + Lung UK work in partnership with researchers to drive patient-centric research.

It’s important to ensure that all of the research funded in post-COVID respiratory complications is going to have the biggest possible impact and benefit. Involving people with breathing difficulties post-COVID in making the decisions about how money is spent and in supporting researchers with their perspectives is an incredibly important part of that. Studies have shown that involving people in this way increases the likelihood of the success of some research projects, too, making them better value for money.

Resource hub

Our resource hub curates the latest evidence, research efforts, innovation and funding opportunities in post-COVID respiratory complications.

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