Recent Long COVID & Pandemic Preparedness News Updates

Content From: HIV.govPublished: August 15, 20233 min read



According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), current analysis estimates that 7.7 million to 23 million Americans have developed Long COVID. Here are some recent developments in the study of and response to Long COVID that may be of interest to readers:

  • HHS Announces the Formation of the Office of Long COVID Research and Practice. This office will be located within HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health under the leadership of the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Rachel Levine, MD. The new office is charged with ongoing coordination of the whole-of-government response to the longer-term effects of COVID-19, including Long COVID and associated conditions and the implementation of the National Research Action Plan on Long COVID (PDF, 1.26MB) and the Services and Supports for Longer-Term Impacts of COVID-19. Currently, 14 federal departments engage on Long COVID, including over a dozen HHS Operating and Staff Divisions, with a goal to reduce the impacts of Long COVID by improving quality of life for people living with Long COVID and reducing disparities related to Long COVID. Read more.
  • NIH Launches Long COVID Clinical Trials Through the RECOVER Initiative, Opening Enrollment. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) RECOVER InitiativeExit Disclaimeris a $1.15 billion nationwide research program designed to understand, treat, and prevent Long COVID. Launched in 2021, RECOVER established one of the largest, most diverse study groups of patients with Long COVID in the world. The initial stage of the initiative involved launching large observational multi-site studies examining and following people through their experience with COVID-19 to learn why some people develop long-term symptoms while others recover completely. These studies are ongoing and have recruited more than 24,000 participants to date. Researchers also are analyzing 60 million electronic health records and conducting more than 40 pathobiology studies on how COVID-19 affects different body tissues and organs. This study cohort participated in RECOVER observational studies that allowed researchers to characterize the condition in great detail, which is critical for informing the development of clinical trials to test interventions. The clinical trials are designed to study multiple treatments and therapies across five focus areas. Platform protocols for two of these areas were posted on July 31, with enrollment for these trials taking place throughout the summer. Read more about the newly-launched Long COVID trials and additional trials to be launched in the coming months.
  • White House Launches Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy (OPPR). On July 21, 2023, the White House announced the launch of OPPR. It will be a permanent office in the Executive Office of the President, charged with leading, coordinating, and implementing actions related to preparedness for, and response to, known and unknown biological threats or pathogens that could lead to a pandemic or to significant public health-related disruptions in the United States. OPPR will take over the duties of the current COVID-19 Response Team and Mpox Team at the White House and will continue to coordinate and develop policies and priorities related to pandemic preparedness and response. To lead this work, the President announced that Major General (ret) Paul Friedrichs will serve as the inaugural Director of OPPR and Principal Advisor on Pandemic Preparedness and Response. Read the White House fact sheet.