NIH awards nearly half a billion for long COVID research


Long COVID remains a mystery, more than a year after the condition first arose. To find answers, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a research initiative, awarding grants totaling roughly $470 million.

For many who have become ill with COVID-19 and recovered, all that remains is natural immunity. However, for others, “long COVID” becomes a fact of life, leaving many with fatigue, shortness of breath, “brain fog,” depression, and other symptoms. To study this condition, the National Institutes of Health has created the REsearching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative and awarded roughly $470 million to create a national study population of diverse volunteers as well as support large-scale studies on long-term effects of COVID-19.1 The funding is supported by the American Rescue Plan.

The research will include children, adults, and pregnant people, who have been enrolled either during the acute or post-acute phases of infection. It is expected to look at incidence and prevalence of long COVID, symptoms, underlying causes, risk factors for having lingering symptoms, and outcomes. Data from the initiative’s cohort is expected to include clinical information, laboratory tests, and analyses of participants who were in various stages of recovery following infection. Access to this information is expected to help accelerate research.

In the press release for the program, Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, director of National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as well as one of the RECOVER co-chairs said, “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. Importantly, the tissue pathology studies in RECOVER will enable in depth studies of the virus’s effects on all body systems.”


1.National Institutes of Health. NIH builds large nationwide study population of tens of thousands to support research on long-term effects of COVID-19. Published September 15, 2021. Accessed September 15, 2021.

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