Goal is to uncover why some people have prolonged symptoms or develop new or returning symptoms after recovering from COVID-19
The U.S. National Institutes of Health is spending nearly $470 million to study the long-term effects of COVID-19, the agency announced Wednesday.
NIH has awarded a “parent” grant to New York University (NYU) Langone Health, 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) 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 sleep problems.
“We know some people have had their lives completely upended by the major long-term effects of COVID-19,” NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., 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.”
The program is called Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER). Data from RECOVER will include clinical information, laboratory tests, and analyses of various stages of recovery following infection. 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 women who are in the throes of COVID-19 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 Walter Koroshetz, M.D., director of the NIH 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.”
In a related development, as severe cases of COVID-19 rise and demand surges for monoclonal antibody treatments, the U.S. government is ordering more from two key suppliers.
The Biden administration has also taken over distributing the therapeutics, to help avoid shortages and to ensure equitable distribution, CNN reported. “HHS will determine the amount of product each state and territory receives on a weekly basis. State and territorial health departments will subsequently identify sites that will receive product and how much,” said a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “This system will help maintain equitable distribution, both geographically and temporally, across the country — providing states and territories with consistent, fairly-distributed supply over the coming weeks.”
Just seven states — Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana — have accounted for 70 percent of orders, CNN reported. HHS will allocate the therapeutics to states and territories each week, rather than have administration sites order them directly.
One of the manufacturers, Regeneron, announced that the U.S. government has contracted with the company for 1.4 million additional doses, making a total of 3 million doses ordered. The Regeneron treatment was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Regeneron will supply the additional doses between now and the end of January 2022.
By Sept. 10, 2.17 million doses of existing monoclonal antibodies had been shipped to sites. Since last December, 938,000 doses have been used. About 43 percent of the distributed doses have been used as of Sept. 3. (HealthDayNews.com)