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RTI International is Supporting NIH Initiative to Study ‘Long COVID’

The RECOVER initiative will bring together tens of thousands of research participants across the United States in an effort to answer important questions about the long-term effects of COVID-19


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.— The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced a new initiative, Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER), to further understand post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV2 (PASC) – a term used to describe the longer term effects of infection with SARS-CoV-2, including persistent or relapsing symptoms which is often called ‘Long COVID’. RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, is serving as the Administrative Coordinating Center for RECOVER by supporting a series of strategic activities, with the goal of helping NIH to further understand the effects, treatment, and prevention of PASC, including Long COVID.

“We know that although most people with COVID-19 recover quickly, some patients battle the illness for weeks or months and others experience new health effects after the initial infection,” said Nedra Whitehead, Ph.D., a senior genetic epidemiologist at RTI and Principal Investigator. “As the Administrative Coordinating Center, RTI supports the formation and evolution of the RECOVER research consortium, assists NIH with oversight and monitoring, and supports strategic communication efforts.”

The RECOVER initiative will bring together tens of thousands of participants who will participate in studies across more than 200 research sites. The initiative seeks to answer important questions such as:

  • What does recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection look like among different groups?
  • How many people continue to have symptoms after acute infection?
  • How many people develop new symptoms after acute infection?
  • What causes these health effects?
  • Why do some people develop these health effects while others do not?
  • Does SARS-CoV-2 infection trigger changes in the body that increase the risk of other conditions, such as chronic lung, heart, or brain disorders?

“RECOVER’s success requires collaboration at all levels, including bringing attention to the voices of people who experienced SARS-CoV-2 infection, those who have and have not experienced PASC, and their caregivers. We greatly appreciate their willingness to share their experiences and participate in this research. Success will also require dedicated researchers, committed policymakers and strong supporting organizations,” said E. Wayne Holden, Ph.D., President and CEO at RTI.  “RTI’s track record of marrying science, complex research coordination, and communication is vital to our role as the RECOVER Administrative Coordinating Center. We look forward to supporting NIH and furthering research into the long-term effects of COVID.”

Diversity is a fundamental key to the success of the RECOVER initiative and participants will include people of diverse ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as children and pregnant women.

The RECOVER Initiative will also analyze data from millions of electronic health records and use mobile health technologies, such as smartphone apps and wearable devices, to gather real-world data in real time. Taken together, the studies under the RECOVER Initiative will provide insights into many important public health questions, including the incidence and prevalence of long-term effects from SARS-CoV-2 infection, underlying causes, the range of symptoms, risk factors, outcomes, and potential strategies for treatment and prevention.  

Read more about our role in RECOVER

Visit the RECOVER website