The NIH has announced plans to spend $470 million to study the long-term effects of COVID-19 in patients who have recovered, generally referred to as long-COVID. File Photo by Adi Weda/EPA-EFE
The U.S. National Institutes of Health is spending nearly $470 million to study the long-term effects of COVID-19, the agency announced.
NIH has awarded a "parent" grant to New York University Langone Health, announced Wednesday, which will in turn make awards to more than 100 researchers at more than 30 institutions.
The goal is to uncover why some people have prolonged symptoms -- long-haul COVID-19 -- or develop new or returning symptoms after recovering from COVID-19.
The most common symptoms include pain, headaches, fatigue, "brain fog," shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, fever, chronic cough and problems.
"We know some people have had their lives completely upended by the major long-term effects of COVID-19," NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said.
"These studies will aim to determine the cause and find much needed answers to prevent this often-debilitating condition and help those who suffer move toward recovery," he said in an agency news release.
The program is called Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery, or RECOVER. Data from RECOVER will include clinical information, laboratory tests and analyses of various stages of recovery following infection.
"This scientifically rigorous approach puts into place a collaborative and multidisciplinary research community inclusive of diverse research participants that are critical to informing the treatment and prevention of the long-term effects of COVID-19," said Dr. Gary Gibbons, director of NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
These studies are expected to give insights into the incidence and prevalence of long-term effects from COVID-19, the range of symptoms, underlying causes, risk factors and outcomes.
Participants will include adults, children and pregnant people who are in the throes of COVID or recovering. Funding is supported by the American Rescue Plan.
"Given the range of symptoms that have been reported, intensive research using all available tools is necessary to understand what happens to stall recovery from this terrible virus," said Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
"Importantly, the tissue pathology studies in RECOVER will enable in-depth studies of the virus's effects on all body systems," Koroshetz said.
For more on long-term COVID-19, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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