INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to over 100 million cases worldwide. The UK has had over 4 million cases, 400 000 hospital admissions and 100 000 deaths. Many patients with COVID-19 suffer long-term symptoms, predominantly breathlessness and fatigue whether hospitalised or not. Early data suggest potentially severe long-term consequence of COVID-19 is development of long COVID-19-related interstitial lung disease (LC-ILD).
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The UK Interstitial Lung Disease Consortium (UKILD) will undertake longitudinal observational studies of patients with suspected ILD following COVID-19. The primary objective is to determine ILD prevalence at 12 months following infection and whether clinically severe infection correlates with severity of ILD. Secondary objectives will determine the clinical, genetic, epigenetic and biochemical factors that determine the trajectory of recovery or progression of ILD. Data will be obtained through linkage to the Post-Hospitalisation COVID platform study and community studies. Additional substudies will conduct deep phenotyping. The Xenon MRI investigation of Alveolar dysfunction Substudy will conduct longitudinal xenon alveolar gas transfer and proton perfusion MRI. The POST COVID-19 interstitial lung DiseasE substudy will conduct clinically indicated bronchoalveolar lavage with matched whole blood sampling. Assessments include exploratory single cell RNA and lung microbiomics analysis, gene expression and epigenetic assessment.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: All contributing studies have been granted appropriate ethical approvals. Results from this study will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals.
CONCLUSION: This study will ensure the extent and consequences of LC-ILD are established and enable strategies to mitigate progression of LC-ILD.