Moving Forward: Research and Support for Long COVID

The past couple years have demonstrated that recovery from COVID-19 varies greatly from person to person.  After the start of the pandemic in spring of 2020, patients began reporting lingering symptoms and an inability to fully recover. These patients began to call themselves “Long Haulers” and soon coined the term “Long COVID.” Pandemics throughout history such as influenza and polio, have shown that symptoms can often linger for decades. This indicates that the long-term effects of COVID are only starting to be understood.

In April 2022, President Biden issued the Memorandum on Addressing the Long-Term Effects of COVID-19The report outlines the government-wide response in providing support for those with Long COVID, and to families who have experienced a loss due to the disease. In addition, the report discusses the role of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in coordinating these efforts.

HHS recently released the National Research Action Plan on Long COVID (the Plan) to expand on the President’s report and the research conducted by the U.S government. The Plan emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach, with coordination between the public and private sectors. The seven research areas are as follows:

  1. Characterizing the Full Clinical Spectrum of Long COVID and Diagnostic Strategies
  2. Pathophysiology
  3. Surveillance and Epidemiology
  4. Long COVID and Overall Well-Being
  5. Therapeutics and Other Health Interventions
  6. Human Services, Supports, and Interventions
  7. Health Services and Health Economics Research

COVID.gov, an official website of HHS also features a webpage on Long COVID. This resource contains links to White House documents as well as several other research reports on the long-term effects of COVID. Additionally, it highlights the HHS report Services and Supports for Longer-Term Impacts of COVID-19 which provides the American public with support resources for mental health, substance abuse, bereavement, Long COVID and related conditions.

The Biden Administration says it will continue to make combating COVID a priority.

As we move forward, we commit to ensuring that families and communities can access these support programs and connect to resources they may need to help with their healing, health, and well-being.

For more information, check out HSDL’s In Focus on Long COVID and the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Resource Archive.

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