The COVID-19 Clinical Neurosciences Study (COVID-CNS)
Funder: MRC / UKRI
Sponsor: University of Liverpool
CI: Dr Benedict Michael
Approval Date: 21 December 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown to be associated with the onset of neurological and/or psychiatric disorders in around a third of hospitalised COVID-19 patients (Varatharaj et al., 2020). In addition, pandemic control measures are likely to cause increased loneliness, economic hardship, alcohol use and domestic violence: all key risk factors for depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, suicide and self-harm (Holmes et al., 2020). This presents the risk of a global increase in post-COVID-19 psychiatric and neurological problems. The UK national CoroNerve surveillance programme has identified the spectrum of acute neurological and psychiatric complications of COVID-19, ranging from encephalitis to psychosis and affective disorders. There is insufficient knowledge on how the SARS-CoV-2 virus damages the brain and mental health of patients, at a time when the social and economic consequences of the pandemic will likely have major impacts on the mental health of the entire population. In collaboration with CoroNerve, ISARIC-4C's and NIHR COVID-19 BioResource, large numbers of patients who have been hospitalised have been identified as having these acute complications. By working urgently together across disciplines, throughout the UK, through the CoroNerve and ISARIC-4C's studies, and through prospective recruitment the proposed COVID-CNS BioResource will provide a national clinical cohort of well-characterised SARSCoV-2 infected and non-infected patients. This in-depth information will be linked to comparable data on a larger population cohort, from the NIHR BioResource. The addition of the COVID-CNS cohort to the NIHR COVID-19 BioResource will provide the appropriate tools to better understand the mechanisms underlying the impact of COVID-19 on the brain and mental health. This cohort will address the outstanding knowledge gap of the influence of COVID-19 on the brain and is the necessary prerequisite to more precise and effective use of existing and novel interventions.
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