NCCIH Research Blog

NCCIH Interest in Research To Prevent and Treat Long COVID

February 12, 2021

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D.

Director

Division of Extramural Research

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Wendy J. Weber, N.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Branch Chief

Clinical Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Many people who have had COVID-19 report that they continue to experience symptoms after the typical recovery time. To advance our understanding of the recovery process, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a Notice of Intent To Publish Research Opportunity Announcements (OTA-21-015) for the Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (PASC) Initiative. This notice reflects NIH’s intention to improve understanding of PASC, also known as “Long COVID,” and to develop strategies to prevent and treat PASC across the lifespan. This is an urgent public health priority in which the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has specific research interests.

NOTE: While exploratory clinical trials that test strategies to treat symptoms and prevent progression to PASC are an important part of this initiative, they will not be supported by the initial Research Opportunity Announcements (ROAs). Clinical trials will be the subject of future solicitations.  

NCCIH’s high-priority areas of interest include:

  • Assessment of value added for the use of complementary health approaches to determine if these interventions improve resilience to COVID-19 infection and/or reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 or development of PASC/Long COVID by promoting resilience and health restoration
  • Analyses of cohort data to evaluate the impact of using complementary approaches for stress management (i.e., mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, cognitive behavioral therapy/cognitive restructuring, etc.) in patients with pre-existing conditions and acute COVID-19 on the development, severity, and characteristics of PASC/Long COVID and other long-term consequences
  • Analyses of cohort data in patients using complementary approaches for the management of PASC/Long COVID symptoms to determine if these interventions improve the recovery from PASC/Long COVID
  • Analyses of cohort data in patients using complementary approaches for the management of acute COVID-19 symptoms to determine if these interventions impact the development, severity, and characteristics of PASC/Long COVID or the recovery from PASC/Long COVID
  • Assessment of the use of interoceptive interventions for symptoms management (physiological and mental health symptoms) in patients with pre-existing conditions and acute COVID-19 on the development, severity, and characteristics of PASC/Long COVID and other long-term consequences
  • Analyses of cohort data in patients using natural products (botanicals, probiotics, dietary interventions, etc.) for the management of acute COVID-19 symptoms to determine if these interventions impact the development, severity, and characteristics of PASC/Long COVID or the recovery from PASC/Long COVID by influencing the body’s immune function

Projects will be funded through NIH’s Other Transaction Authority, which offers flexibility and the ability to engage partners in collaborative innovation and problem solving. The initial ROAs are expected to be published by mid-February 2021, and awards will be made in early March. We encourage you to monitor the NCCIH website for updates on when the ROAs are published.

In the meantime, we encourage you to review the full notice as well as NCCIH’s interest areas. Consider whether you would be qualified and interested in applying for one or more opportunities, and feel free to reach out to nccihderinquiries@mail.nih.gov with any questions.

While the notice is being provided for informational purposes to allow potential applicants time to develop responsive applications, NIH does reserve the right to modify the scope and objectives. Final scope, objectives, and requirements will be included in the published ROAs.

As stated in the notice, “The magnitude of the public health impact of these sequelae is currently unknown but potentially profound....” NCCIH is pleased to contribute to this effort to help people return to health. 

More Information

(Editor's Note: On February 23, 2021, NIH announced the first ROAs and a related technical assistance webinar at: covid19.nih.gov/funding/open-funding-opportunities. Additional PASC Initiative ROAs will be published there in the coming weeks.)

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