Long COVID is a multi-system condition that affects approximately 10% of people following COVID-19 infection. There are several possible explanations for Long COVID, including persistent viral infection, an autoimmune response, micro-clots, and inflammation. Roughly two-thirds of people with Long Covid are overweight, a proportion similar to that found in the general population. Being overweight may worsen symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and pains.
As weight loss is known to have anti-inflammatory benefits, the ReDIRECT study aims to test whether an evidence-based weight management programme can help alleviate symptoms of Long COVID in people who are overweight. This programme will be delivered and supported entirely online.
We will conduct a randomised controlled trial with 200 people with Long COVID, identified through their GP, patient groups or social media. We will allocate 100 individuals to receive the personalised, professionally-supported weight management programme, 100 to usual care, and compare Long COVID symptoms, weight loss, quality of life and value for money after 6 months. After 6 months, the intervention will be provided for the control group. Experiences will be documented throughout the 12 months weight management period.
INVOLVEMENT OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH LONG COVID
People with Long COVID have been involved extensively in developing this project. Their priorities are to reduce symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness and pain. They are keen to explore if effective weight management would help their symptoms and overall functioning, especially a programme that can be followed remotely from home. A group of patients and other stakeholders will provide advice throughout the project.
SHARING OUR FINDINGS
We will use our relationships with patient organisations, stakeholders and the research community to share findings via radio, TV, newspapers social media. We welcome both personal and media enquiries via our contacts listed on the homepage.