STIMULATE-ICP: Understanding long COVID to improve diagnosis, treatment and care


As countries around the world struggle to cope and recover from successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, a major new research consortium will inform medium- and longer-term policy and health system responses.

The consortium is made up of more than 30 researchers, health professionals, patients and industry partners from over 30 organisations working together under the banner of STIMULATE-ICP (Symptoms, Trajectory, Inequalities and Management: Understanding Long-COVID to Address and Transform Existing Integrated Care Pathways).

The overall programme aims to work out what long COVID is, how to diagnose it and how to manage it. The team will interview patients and health professionals and analyse data from NHS records, to inform understanding of patterns of long COVID and the outcomes of current clinical practice. Researchers will work alongside patients to improve access to care and support, and to address care inequalities.

The team is recruiting 4,500 patients in the largest long-COVID trial to-date in order to compare a new pathway including community-based, comprehensive MRI scan (CoverscanTM) and enhanced rehabilitation (Living with COVID RecoveryTM) with usual care. The effect of drugs on patient outcomes after three months of treatment is also being trialled. The drugs being tested are: Famotidine and Loratidine (antihistamines) in combination, Rivaroxaban (an anti-clotting drug) and Colchicine (an anti-inflammatory drug). With patients the team will co-develop means to improve patient access to the right care at the right time in the right place, including health professional training. The aspects of long COVID care which might improve care for patients with multimorbidity and long-term condition will also be considered.

It is hoped that the programme will deliver knowledge to clinicians and scientists, evidence to policymakers and improved care to patients, while collecting real-world data at scale.

Find out more about the STIMULATE-ICP project and how to get involved

Partners & Collaborators

University College London (UCL)

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH)

University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)


UK Doctors #Longcovid

Royal College of General Practitioners

University of Liverpool

Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust


Living With

University of Hull

Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust

University of York

University of Leicester

University of Exeter

University of Southampton

University of Sussex

Alliance Medical

GE Healthcare


Francis Crick Institute

British Heart Foundation (BHF) 

BHF Data Science Centre

Health Data Research UK

Office of National Statistics

Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust

NIHR ARC North Thames

NIHR ARC South West Peninsula

NIHR ARC East Midlands

NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber

NIHR Clinical Research Network support (CRN)

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