Analysis of long-COVID using school survey and electronic health record data
Most children and young people who get COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection) are not very ill. However, a large number still have symptoms, such as headaches and tiredness, weeks after they had COVID-19, known as long-COVID.
This project, “Analysis of long-COVID using school survey and electronic health record data”, will use data that have already been collected from the nationwide Covid-19 Schools Infection Survey (SIS) for England, and the Bristol-based Covid-19 Mapping and Mitigation in Schools (CoMMinS) study.
De-identified data on SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptoms from these surveys will be used to better understand SARS-CoV-2 infection, and particularly long-COVID, in children.
De-identified electronic health record data for survey participants, such as those from GP and hospital visits, will be used to gather further information on how long-COVID is characterised in terms of things like diagnoses and use of healthcare services.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which produces guidance to doctors on long-COVID, hasn’t specified what the symptoms of long-COVID are in children.
It is also unknown which groups of children and young people are most likely to get long-COVID. For example, the risk of developing long-COVID may be different depending on whether short-term symptoms are experienced, which are themselves poorly characterised. Additionally, it is unclear how many children and young people with symptoms are seen by their GP.
As very little is known about long-COVID in children and young people, it is difficult for doctors to advise and treat those who are ill with the condition.
Through this project we will be able to help doctors better diagnose long-COVID in children and young people, and understand which groups are more likely to get long-COVID, such as older children, or children with pre-existing health conditions.
We will also be able to see if some groups of children and young people with long-COVID syndrome are more likely to visit their GP than others.
Information will be produced for families, such as on the most common symptoms of long-COVID, and how many children with long-COVID likely recover within 12 weeks.
Partners and funder
Funding for the analyses has been secured from the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) School of Primary Care Research (reference 637), through the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol.
The project sponsor is the University of Bristol. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.