NIH launches massive project to study long COVID

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The National Institutes of Health is launching a nationwide series of studies with more than 40,000 people to research the long-term effects of COVID-19.

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why it matters: COVID symptoms lasting more than four weeks, commonly known as prolonged COVID, have become an emerging public health concern as researchers do not know the cause.

  • Symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, persistent cough, loss of taste or smell, and organ damage.

description: In the coming months, the agency aims to better understand the prevalence and incidence of long-term effects, range of symptoms, risks and strategies for treatment and prevention.

  • NIH allocated approximately $470 million for the project spanning 100 researchers and 30 institutions in the US.
  • The study will include adult, pregnant and pediatric populations. Volunteers who currently have COVID-19 or who have the disease will undergo tissue mutilation, and researchers will be given wearable devices and smartphones to track the data in real time. Millions of electronic health records will also be analyzed.

By numbers: statistics Last week the CDC revealed that more than a third of people with chronic COVID-19 reported having three or more symptoms at once.

  • The most prevalent symptoms in long walks were fatigue, tiredness or weakness. More than a quarter of people with COVID reported a change in smell or taste.

What are they saying: “We know that some people have completely lost their lives by the major long-term effects of COVID-19,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement.

  • “The aim of these studies will be to determine the cause and find the much-needed answer to how to stop this often debilitating condition and help those who move on to recovery,” he said.
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