Funding awarded for study into children’s inflammatory condition caused by Covid-19

21 December 2020

Funding awarded for study into children’s inflammatory condition caused by Covid-19
Clinicians and researchers from hospitals and universities across London are working together to learn more about the impacts of a serious condition linked to Covid-19 in children, thanks to support from Imperial Health Charity.

Experts will examine the neurological and psychological effects of a condition called paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome (PIMS-TS), which is caused by Covid-19.

We’ve teamed up with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity to fund this important study with a £282,000 grant.

"We hope this important research will help us take the first vital steps towards managing the condition and providing better treatments"

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity (pictured below), said: “On behalf of all three charities, we’re extremely proud to be supporting this collaborative effort by researchers and clinical teams across London to learn more about this rare condition and how it affects children.

“With fantastic support from our generous donors, we hope this important research will help us take the vital first steps towards managing the condition and providing better treatments for seriously ill children.”

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How serious is PIMS-TS?


While it’s rare for children to experience severe Covid-19 symptoms, a small number who are infected with the virus have gone on to develop PIMS-TS - which can be life-threatening and may require intensive care in hospital.

Around 150 children have been treated for PIMS-TS by clinical teams at hospitals in London and a further 300 children across the UK are thought to have been affected by the condition.

Doctors have reported that many children develop symptoms including headaches, confusion and muscle weakness.

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What will the study involve?


Our funding will enable researchers from University College London, Imperial College London and King’s College London to collaborate with clinicians at Great Ormond Street Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital (pictured above) and Evelina London Children’s Hospital in an effort to gather crucial information about the condition.

The team will use detailed imaging to measure the effects of brain inflammation on brain growth and cognitive development, as well as monitoring muscle weakness.

Researchers began recruiting patients for the study in the autumn and plan to carry out a series of examinations, scans and tests over the next 12 months. The team’s findings could help inform future treatments.

"Research is absolutely critical when it comes to offering the most effective treatment for our patients"

Dr Karyn Moshal, Infectious Diseases Consultant

Dr Karyn Moshal, Infectious Diseases Consultant and Clinical Lead for the PIMS-TS Follow-up Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: “It’s important to reassure parents that of the children who have Covid-19, very few will become seriously unwell. But in cases where PIMS-TS does develop, it can be serious.

“Research that helps us learn more about how this disease affects children from when they are diagnosed and in the months that follow is absolutely critical when it comes to offering the most effective treatment to our patients.”