As of this morning – Thursday May 21 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 248,293 with 35,704 deaths.

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have been awarded £52,000 to investigate the impact of lockdown on patients with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.

The research will focus on psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis (or ankylosing spondylitis) and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

The charity Versus Arthritis and the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) are funding the study, which is designed to help better define the effects of lockdown on people with long-term conditions and on how their health may have been affected.

“Understandably there has been a primary focus on undertaking research directly related to COVID-19 but we also risk forgetting people with chronic diseases just at a time when their need is greatest and with severely reduced services,” said the University's dean of Interdisciplinary Research and Research Impact.

“The study will allow us to understand the consequences of the lockdown for people with long-term conditions and how their health may have been affected. It will also feed into discussions about how virtual consultations may be part of regular NHS healthcare in the future,” noted Professor Gary Macfarlane, clinical chair in Epidemiology, who is leading the study.