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At the forefront of the long-term pandemic response

24 Sep 2020

How our researchers are investigating “long-haul” COVID-19 

Fatigue, brain fog, chest heaviness, shortness of breath – those are some of the most common lingering symptoms experienced by patients after COVID-19 infection. Stories of self-called “COVID long-haulers” have started to abound worldwide, and a team of St Vincent’s investigators has been working hard to better understand the triggers behind these stories and characterise the after-effects of the virus.

From the onset of the pandemic, A/Prof Gail Matthews, Dr David Darley and Prof Greg Dore knew this unexplored territory of COVID-19 would require thorough investigation. They started recruiting patients only a couple of months after Australia recorded its first cases. 

With two research grants from St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation, they have been able to jumpstart their research work and rapidly scale it up. 

Called ADAPT, the study led by A/Prof Gail Matthews and Dr David Darley involves a whole range of tests to determine patients’ health status, namely looking at their brain and lung function, and now includes about 120 patients. The study has also attracted interest from a number of institutes across the Darlinghurst campus, examining additional dimensions such as genetic signature and immunological response.

In addition, Prof Greg Dore is also running a project that is complementing the parent ADAPT study, which will provide critical insights on the development of COVID-19 antibodies in comparison to other respiratory viruses.

The ADAPT study is a good example of the intrinsic link between clinical work and research: being part of the study shows COVID-19 patients that their issues are taken seriously, and that thorough investigation is underway to provide answers they currently don’t have.

A/Prof Gail Matthews, Dr David Darley and Prof Greg Dore expect to share their findings with the medical community in the near future, so stay tuned.