About us

COVID-19 patients frequently suffer brain problems during the infection and can be left with symptoms of brain injury. Similar problems have been seen in previous pandemics, including Spanish influenza over 100 years ago, but how and why this occurs is poorly understood.

What is the study?

We have already been notified of UK patients with these complications due to COVID-19. We have a unique opportunity to understand how these problems occur and develop strategies to prevent and treat them.

The questions we will ask include in whom does COVID-19 cause injury? Does it do this by invading the brain? Or by triggering excessive immune responses or interfering with the blood supply to nervous tissue?

We will answer these questions through in-depth clinical, laboratory, and imaging studies of 480 patients in comparison to 320 control patients (hospitalised during the pandemic with COVID-19 [256] or without COVID-19 [64]). Our recruitment target will be 800 patients in total.

Without this understanding, we cannot determine whether anti-viral medication or treatments that modulate the immune system or that improve blood supply will help, and if so in which patients.

We will apply this understanding through our World Health Organisation-commissioned Task Force (co-Chair Professor Ben Michael) to develop clinical care guidelines, identify patients for targeted clinical trials, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.


How do researchers access data and samples from the study?

As COVID-CNS is part of the NIHR BioResource, data will be available on application for researchers outside of the core study team. The COVID-19 BioResource is no longer actively recruiting COVID patients, however, recall of the data and samples from the 8,000 who have already joined, including 818 via COVID-CNS are accessible by researchers. 

Anyone interested in applying to access COVID-CNS data will need to complete a BioResource Data Access Application Form. 


Were you a patient that joined the COVID-CNS study?

If you were a patient that joined the study and now want to find out more about the study's research see our Patient section. Here you can watch other participants share their experience of taking part in the study, and read our COVID-CNS Study Booklet to find out what we have learnt so far. 

If you have any questions, please continue to contact the study team at covidcns@kcl.ac.uk. You can also follow the study team on Twitter @covidcns for any updates on the study.

If you have questions about being part of the NIHR COVID-19 BioResource please contact the NBR team direct at nbr@bioresource.nihr.ac.uk

Back to: COVID-19 Clinical Neuroscience Study (COVID-CNS)