• Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    POST COvid-19 interstitial lung DiseasE (POSTCODE) A study of genetic and environmental interactions: an observational cohort study.



  • Contact name

    Philip Molyneaux

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Imperial College London

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    3 years, 0 months, 0 days

  • Research summary

    Research Summary

    The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to over 100 million cases worldwide. In the UK alone there have been over 4 million cases, over 400 thousand hospital admissions and over 100 thousand deaths. A large number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 suffer from long term symptoms, predominantly breathlessness and fatigue whether or not they were admitted to hospital. However, long-term symptoms following COVID-19 are more common in people who suffered more severe acute disease. There are a number of causes of long-term breathlessness following COVID-19 including thromboembolic disease, myo- or pericarditis, physical deconditioning but one of the most common, and potentially concerning with regards to long term prognosis is Interstitial Lung Disease.

    The fibrogenic potential of SARS-CoV-2 is currently unknown but is predicted to be substantial based on the experience of previous coronavirus outbreaks and emerging data from this pandemic. In a Canadian cohort, 12 weeks after hospitalisation for severe COVID-19, 58% of patients had shortness of breath and half of the patients had abnormalities on CT consistent with scarring.

    We do not yet understand how scarring occurs following SARS-CoV-2, nor why there is resolution in some individuals and persistent or progressive disease in others. We therefore plan to undertake bronchoscopy (camera test into the lungs) to examine for changes in the way the cells lining the lung behave, using genetics, and differences in the bacteria living in the airways in patients whom have developed scarring following COVID-19. We are doing this as in other forms of scarring lung disease the bacteria in the lungs can play a role in the progression of disease and the genetic profiles of the cells can give clues to why the scarring has developed. Our hope is that this information will allow us to help determine the optimal treatment for patients whom develop this in the future.

    Summary of results

    We have found that the microbiome of the lungs (the bacteria that live in the lungs) in patients with chronic damage to the lungs after COVID infection is similar to that of healthy volunteers and different to that of patients with lung scarring (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). This may suggest that patients with post-COVID lung damage will continue to improve.

  • REC name

    South Central - Berkshire Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    19 May 2021

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion