US President Joe Biden has ordered a new national investigation effort into long-term Covid-19, while also directing federal agencies to support patients dealing with prolonged symptoms of the new coronavirus.
Joe Biden has assigned the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate an urgent new initiative across all federal agencies, based on investigations already in progress at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The U.S. head of state also directed federal agencies to support patients and physicians, providing science-based best practices for the long-term treatment of COVID-19, maintaining access to insurance coverage and protecting workers’ rights. who deal with the uncertainties of malaise.
Mental health effects are of particular concern, as long-term Covid-19 breaks down into symptoms such as brain fog, recurrent shortness of breath, pain and fatigue.
Rough estimates are that it affects up to at least one in three people who recover from Covid-19, although the severity and duration of symptoms vary.
Despite intensive research, the causes of long-term Covid-19 are not well understood and treatment focuses primarily on helping patients deal with their symptoms as they try to rebalance daily routines.
The White House also acknowledged that long-term Covid-19 appears to be a disability, meaning patients may be entitled to protections under federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of health conditions and require accommodations to allow people to have a productive life.
“The administration recognizes that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in new members of the community with disabilities and has had a tremendous impact on people with disabilities,” a White House source said.
Some independent experts praised the Biden Administration for its comprehensive plan, but noted the lack of a timeline for results.
“This is a very important move on the part of the Biden Administration to recognize that Covid[-19] is real, which is a significant threat and much more needs to be done,” said former Baltimor City Health Commissioner Leana Wen.
Medical research so far has led to theories about what causes long-term Covid-19, but no conclusions.
One theory revolves around persistent infections or virus remnants that can trigger inflammation in the body. Another possibility involves responses from the autoimmune system that mistakenly attack normal cells. Experts are also investigating the role of small clots.
The White House said Joe Biden’s request would expand and build on a $1 billion study already underway at the NIH, called the RECOVER Initiative.
One of the goals is to accelerate the enrollment of 40,000 people with and without covid-19 in the study for a long time.
Around this effort, Health and Human Services will coordinate a Biden Administration-wide investigation plan into long-term Covid-19.
Finally, the White House said its plan will provide direct support to patients, safeguarding access to insurance coverage and extending civil rights protection to people with long-term COVID-19.