Nutricia supports independent research to improve the recovery of COVID-19 patients

Nutricia is providing funding of €1 million to support clinician-led research initiatives in 16 countries, aiming to improve nutritional care for patients leaving hospital after severe COVID-19 infection

There is little practical clinical guidance for nutritional care during recovery from COVID-19 - even though it can impact recovery time and people’s ability to return to doing the things that matter most to them. Today evidence collected in patients suffering from other disease conditions is used for nutritional management of COVID-19 patients, however more research is needed to help improve their recovery.”

Dr. E Cereda, Physician and Researcher, Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Unit Foundation IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia, Italy
Watch Dr. Cereda’s personal reflection on working with COVID-19 patients, the role of nutrition and the need for more research. Dr. Cereda works at one of the healthcare institutions granted funding by Nutricia to do independent research on the nutritional management in the recovery journey of COVID-19 patients.
Effective management of patient rehabilitation after discharge from hospital

The coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. In the months since, the symptoms, characteristics and treatment options of COVID-19 infection have become better understood by the medical community. However, more investigation is needed into the effective management of patient rehabilitation after discharge from hospital, particularly for those patients who have endured prolonged hospital/ICU stays due to severe infection. 

Although medical nutrition has been shown to positively contribute to improved clinical outcomes1,2, better quality of life1,2 and earlier hospital dischargein a variety of diseases and conditions, it is not always recognized to be an integral part of the package of care patients receive. Indeed, only 1 out of 3 hospital patients receive the nutritional care that they need3. This issue has become even more important to address in the current pandemic as COVID-19 is associated with nutritional riskdue to extended ICU stays. These patients in particular are known to potentially face a range of physical and emotional issues5 that can further hamper their ability to get the nutrition they need to make a more complete recovery.

The need for real-world evidence

ESPEN (European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) issued practical guidance to support the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition in patients with COVID-19 infection6. This highlights the need to ensure continuity of nutritional management of malnourished patients after hospital discharge, with individualized nutritional plans and oral nutritional support (ONS) when indicated6. Today, nutritional management is based on existing knowledge regarding malnutrition; however, real-world evidence for patients with COVID-19 remains unavailable to date. 

Nutricia launches NutriCOVer program to support independent research and nutritional guidance for COVID-19 patient recovery

The NutriCOVer program launched by Nutricia aims to advance knowledge and practice in COVID-19 patient recovery via an umbrella funding program. The program allocates €1m to independent, investigator-led studies focusing on nutritional needs and management of malnutrition after hospital discharge and during recovery from severe COVID 19 infection. Through the program we aim to improve knowledge on nutritional needs, explore the benefit of nutritional interventions, and support best practice and development of evidence-base for clinical guidance and nutritional pathways for this vulnerable patient group.

Through these grants for independent research by healthcare professionals, and medical nutrition product donations to healthcare organizations, we hope to contribute to patient recovery from COVID-19 and support healthcare systems across the world in delivering better care outcomes.”

Patrick Kamphuis, Senior Medical Affairs Director, Nutricia

Additionally, the NutriCOVer program, involving 16 countries, will provide a framework for a network of investigators leading individual initiatives, for example by hosting events to present research and discuss learnings and data, the first of which are expected this autumn.

Information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.

  1. Elia M et al. A Systematic Review of the Cost and Cost Effectiveness of Using Standard Oral Nutritional Supplements in Community and Care Home Settings. Clin Nutr. 2016;35(1):125-37
  2. Stratton RJ et al. Disease-related malnutrition: an evidence-based approach to treatment. CABI Publishing, 2003
  3. Ljungqvist O, de Man F. Under nutrition: a major health problem in Europe. Nutr Hosp. 2009;24(3):369‐70.
  4. Caccialanza R, et al. Early Nutritional Supplementation in Non-Critically Ill Patients Hospitalized for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Rationale and Feasibility of a Shared Pragmatic Protocol. Nutrition. 2020;74:110835.
  5. Merriweather J, et al. Nutritional rehabilitation after ICU - does it happen: a qualitative interview and observational study. J Clin Nurs. 2014;23(5-6)654-62.
  6. Barazzoni R, et al. ESPEN Expert Statements and practical guidance for the nutritional management of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Clin Nutr. 2020;39:1631-8.


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