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Published on March 30, 2022

Avera Research Institute Takes Part in NIH RECOVER Initiative to Study Long-Term Effects of COVID

Through a partnership with the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, Avera Research Institute, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., will be among more than 30 research teams across the country participating in the Research COVID to Enhance Recovery Initiative (RECOVER) Initiative through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Research efforts will focus on the long-term effects of COVID in children and young adults, called post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). Long COVID refers to symptoms that persist for weeks or months after the acute infection. Research teams, including Avera Research Institute, will study and share data in real time, providing the scale needed to get answers to help alleviate suffering as fast as possible.

“Recovery from COVID-19 varies from person to person. Many people make a full recovery, but others continue to experience symptoms related to the infection or develop new symptoms over time. This includes people who had mild cases of COVID-19,” said Amy Elliott, PhD, Chief Clinical Research Officer at Avera Research Institute.

Avera Research Institute will be enrolling children and young adults under age 25 in a four-year study to better understand the long-term effects and identify treatment options. The goal nationwide is to enroll tens of thousands of children and young adults.

The most common persistent symptoms include pain, headaches, fatigue, “brain fog,” shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, fever, chronic cough and sleep problems. Some people, especially those who were severely ill, may have lingering lung problems. Current data suggest that about 10-30% of those who have had an acute infection of SARS-CoV-2 will experience persistent symptoms lasting at least one month.

PASC includes multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adults (MIS-C and MIS-A), which is rare, but results in severe immune responses to SARS-CoV-2.

Because the symptoms of long COVID are similar to those of other conditions, it can go undiagnosed.

“Our goal is to identify children and young adults who may have this condition and help them toward recovery,” Elliott said. Parents who feel their child is experiencing symptoms that interfere with their daily life should talk to their child’s health care provider.

“We need to identify the risks, and more importantly, approaches for treatment and prevention,” Elliott said. “Avera Research Institute is excited to participate in this national effort to find answers and solutions.”

Learn more about enrolling in this study by calling the Avera Research Institute at 605-504-3154.

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