Main Scientists Be a part of Forces to Examine Main Principle Behind Lengthy COVID

The effort, known as the Long Covid Disease Research Initiative, aims to streamline research and move quickly to clinical trials of potential treatments. By sharing diverse skills and resources, the group hopes to discover the scientific basis of the disease and use it to design evidence-based tests.

Long COVID is a complex, poorly understood and debilitating illness that can last for many months after an initial COVID infection, leaving many of its victims unable to work. It affects nearly one in five American adults who have had COVID, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The initiative is backed by an initial $15 million from Balvi, a scientific investment fund formed by Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain platform.

It includes scientists from Harvard University, Stanford University, University of California San Francisco, Yale University, and the J. Craig Venter Institute.

“The first thing you need to understand in the long COVID is whether patients still have the virus in them or not,” said Dr. Amy Proal of the nonprofit PolyBio Research Foundation, an expert on chronic diseases associated with the infection that will be scientific. initiative leader.

There are currently no proven treatments for long-term COVID, which affects more than 150 million people worldwide.

A growing body of evidence points to the presence of the virus in tissues that continue to provoke an immune system response, she said.

This may help explain the cascade of around 200 symptoms associated with long-term COVID, including pain, fever, headache, cognitive impairment, shortness of breath, and exhaustion after minimal activity.

Researchers will use advanced imaging and genetic sequencing techniques to look for evidence of the virus’ presence in tissues and analyze its effects on the immune system.

If viral persistence is proven to be the cause of long-lasting COVID, the research initiative aims to test antiviral treatments such as Paxlovid by Pfizer Inc, as well as other types of drugs that modulate the immune system.

“Antivirals are our main target for clinical trials,” said Ms. Proal, adding that the group would like to study Paxlovid. She couldn’t say whether Pfizer is working with the group.

Some case studies have shown that Paxlovid improved symptoms in a handful of long-term COVID patients. But large, well-designed studies are needed to prove that treatments are useful and to identify patients most likely to benefit from them.

A Pfizer spokesman said the company is “actively exploring” possible collaborative studies, but declined to comment further.

The initiative was organized by a group of longtime COVID patients with backgrounds in finance, start-ups and technology, who are spearheading fundraising efforts such as the initial $15 million donation, plus more to come. publicized, said Henry Scott-Green, one of the organizers.

The aim is to accelerate research by breaking down institutional silos and eliminating funding bottlenecks.

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