Feb 24, 2021 - Health

National Institutes of Health to fund research on long-term COVID symptoms

Francis Collins

NIH director Francis Collins. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins announced Tuesday that the agency is launching an initiative to study "long COVID" — the lingering, long-term symptoms some people experience after they've had the virus.

Why it matters: The causes of these symptoms — which can include fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, fevers and sleep disorders — aren't well understood, and doctors have been calling for a serious research effort for months.

Details: Collins said the research initiative will try to answer questions like how many people have long-term symptoms, what causes them, why do some people get them and not others, and whether the virus sets off changes that makes people more vulnerable to other conditions.

  • "We do not know yet the magnitude of the problem, but given the number of individuals of all ages who have been or will be infected ... the public health impact could be profound," Collins said in the announcement.

Of note: Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly wrote a great story last month about the struggles of people with long COVID and the need for focused research on it.

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