The Biden administration on Monday announced the formation of a new office dedicated to fighting long COVID. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The Biden administration has announced the formation of a new office to lead the United States' response to the longer-term effects of the COVID-19 virus.
The new office, named the Office of Long COVID Research and Practice, will be under the Department of Health and Human Services and is charged with leading ongoing coordination of the whole-of-government response to the longer-term effects of COVID-19, including associated conditions, and the implementation of federal government action plans.
"The Office of Long COVID Research and Practice will enhance efforts being undertaken across the U.S. government to improve the lives of those who continue to experience the long-term impacts of the worst public health crisis in a century," Adm. Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.
"Bringing together the resources and expertise of federal, state and local partners, patients, providers, researchers and the business sector to answer the American peoples most urgent calls to action."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long COVID is defined as "signs, symptoms and conditions" that persist or develop in a patient after being initially infected by COVID-19.
More than 200 symptoms are associated with long COVID, and associated health problems can last from weeks to years and are more often present in those who had severe COVID-19 illness but anyone sickened by the pandemic can experience such symptoms, the United States' federal health body said.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that between 7.7 million and 23 million Americans have developed long COVID. According to Johns Hopkins University, which stopped tracking government data of the virus in March, nearly 104 million Americans tested positive for COVID-19, including 1.1 million who died.
It was also announced Monday that the National Institutes of Health has launched long COVID clinical trials through the RECOVER Initiative, a $1.15 billion research program that was designed to understand and treat long COVID.
"As our nation continues to make strides in combating COVID-19, it is crucial that we address the impact of long COVID and provide resources to those in need," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
"The official establishment of the Long COVID Coordinating office and the launch of the RECOVER clinical trials solidifies this issue as an ongoing priority" for the Biden administration, he said.