WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government will spend $470 million to learn more about long COVID-19, its causes and potential treatments.
The National Institutes of Health announced the plans Wednesday with a grant awarded to New York University and a goal of enrolling up to 40,000 adults and children nationwide. The effort, dubbed RECOVER, will involve researchers at more than 30 U.S. institutions.
"This is being taken with the greatest seriousness. at a scale that has not really been attempted with something like this," Dr. Francis Collins, NIH director, said at a briefing Wednesday.
Collins says its estimated 10% to 30% of people infected with COVID-19 may develop persistent, new or recurring symptoms that can last months or perhaps years.
Long COVID is an umbrella term for symptoms that linger, recur and show up for the first time four weeks or more after an initial infection. It also includes heart inflammation and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare but serious condition that can occur in children after a COVID-19 infection.
Pain, headaches, fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, chronic coughs and sleep problems are among the reported symptoms of long COVID.
Possible causes include the virus lingers in tissues and organs or it overstimulates the immune system.