Help with groundbreaking research to find ways of recovery from coronavirus

Researchers exploring a new method to help people recover from Covid-19, using breathing exercises and a handheld device, are looking for volunteers who have had coronavirus to help them test it. The work could benefit patients and ease the strain on the NHS.

More people are now surviving Covid-19. However, patients who are recovering talk about continued shortness of breath, sometimes for many months, which causes tiredness and difficulties with the basic tasks of daily living.

Swansea University reports the UK-wide team, led by Dr Melitta McNarry and Dr Kelly Mackintosh at is School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, which is rated amongst the best in the UK, are trying to identify how best to help people recover quickly and fully.

The research project has just been awarded funding from the Sêr Cymru programme, run by the Welsh Government.

Melitta McNarry and her team believe that they can improve shortness of breath by training the muscles involved in breathing, using a small handheld device that gives regular feedback to the user. To use the device, people breathe in as deeply as they can, for as long as they can.

Based on previous work with long-term respiratory conditions, doing these exercises just three times a week for about twenty minutes has been linked to improvements in how people feel and how much they can move around.

The team are looking for volunteers to use the device for four to eight weeks, to see if this helps them recover more quickly. The researchers will study whether people get less breathless, stronger, fitter, move around more and, importantly, whether they feel better about their health and wellbeing. Each volunteer will get regular feedback on how they are doing and plenty of motivation to keep going.

Associate Professor Melitta McNarry, an expert in cardiorespiratory health, has worked with people with many types of respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and cystic fibrosis. She helps them improve their breathing through inspiratory muscle training, high intensity interval training and physical activity. She has also worked with clinicians to improve pulmonary rehabilitation programmes for patients with respiratory disease.

She said “It is great news that more and more people are now surviving Covid. But it’s vital that we now focus on rehabilitation, so that people recover quickly and fully. To do this, we need a greater understanding of the long-term effects of Covid-19 and how we can make these better.

“We can only do this with the help of volunteers. That’s why we’re asking people who are recovering from Covid to consider taking part in our research.

“You can be an adult of any age, from any part of the UK and it doesn’t matter how long ago you had Covid. If you think you may be interested, I’d be delighted to hear from you. I can tell you a bit more about the work and answer any questions you may have, so you can decide if you’re able to help.”

If you think you may be able to help, phone Dr Melitta McNarry on 01792 513069 or email

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