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A study looking at the longer-term impact of COVID-19 has found that nearly a third of patients displayed abnormalities in multiple organs five months after infection, some of which have been shown through previous work to be evidence of tissue damage.

A screen showing images from a brain MRI, with a scan taking place behind.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of patients on the trial showed a higher burden of abnormal findings involving the lungs, brain and kidneys compared with controls. Lung abnormalities were significantly higher (almost 14-fold higher) among patients discharged from hospital for COVID-19 than in the control group, while abnormal findings involving the brain and kidneys were three and two times higher, respectively.

The extent of abnormalities on MRI was often influenced by the severity of the COVID-19 infection the patients had experienced and their age, as well as co-morbidities.

The findings, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, are part of the C-MORE (Capturing the MultiORgan Effects of COVID-19) study. C-MORE, a multi-centre MRI follow-up study of 500 post-hospitalised COVID-19 patients, is a key element of the national PHOSP-COVID platform, led by the University of Leicester, which is investigating the long-term effects of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients. This paper presents the results of an interim analysis of 259 post-hospitalised COVID-19 patients and 52 controls.

The C-MORE study is being led by researchers from the Radcliffe Department of Medicine and is supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and the NIHR Oxford Health BRC, as well as the BHF Oxford Centre for Research Excellence and Wellcome Trust.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford's website.