A recent article posted on nature.com (18/10/23) calls for a US government “moonshot” commitment of at least $1 billion annually for 10 years to address the global health challenge of long COVID. This would inspire other nations to make similar investments in researching its causes and treatments.
Long COVID represents a unique opportunity to understand and find treatments for infection-associated chronic illnesses, which are poorly understood and often stigmatized. The simultaneous infection of millions enabled recognition of long COVID’s widespread and persistent impacts.
Progress has been made in long COVID research, including identifying biological mechanisms like inflammation and viral persistence, and launching major initiatives like the NIH’s RECOVER program. But funding is short-term and coordination remains limited across disciplines.
The authors outline 6 key priorities including agreeing on definitions, team science, utilizing early pandemic resources, accelerating biomarkers, experimental medicine trials, and linking research to clinical care programs.
Major investments like the proposed $1 billion per year over 10 years would more than pay back through reducing long COVID’s economic and health burdens. Other infection-associated chronic illnesses would also benefit.
A long COVID “moonshot” could ultimately transform our understanding of how pathogens affect health beyond acute illness, as well as preparedness for future pandemics. But continued momentum requires urgent, large-scale, coordinated commitments.
Read the full article here.