KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The University of Kansas Medical Center recently announced that it has begun recruiting participants in a multi-site clinical trial to determine why some adults infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus develop long COVID while others do not.
The trial, coordinated by New York University Langone Health, is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and is part of the NIH Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) initiative. KU Medical Center received a $1.1 million grant to participate in the RECOVER trial. Mario Castro, MD, MPH, vice president of clinical and translational research and pulmonologist at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, is the principal investigator at the KU Medical Center site.
Long COVID describes the condition attributed to people who suffer from persistent and potentially severe symptoms weeks or months after death from their acute COVID-19 illness. These symptoms, known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), include pain, headache, fatigue, “brain fog”, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, fever, cardiovascular problems, chronic cough and sleep problems. . They affect an impressive number of people who have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“We estimate that between 20% and 30% of people who have had an acute COVID-19 infection will develop symptoms of long COVID,” Castro said. “This is likely to be one of the major public health issues we will face in the near future and probably for the next decade.”
In total, the study will recruit more than 17,000 adults ages 18 and older from 77 institutions across the United States. Together with its clinical partners at the University of Kansas Health System, KU Medical Center aims to recruit more than 200 participants. Attendees will include people who have not contracted COVID-19 as well as those who have, and people with PASC symptoms as well as those who do not. The study will follow participants for up to four years.
KU Medical Center is part of the Idea States Consortium for Clinical Research (ISCORE), an 11-state network that helps ensure diversity in medical research funding.
“We were purposely chosen because we have great diversity within ISCORE, including Native Americans, African Americans, Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and rural people,” Castro said. “It made our network unique in that regard.”
All people participating in the study, including people who have never been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, will undergo a basic physical examination including blood tests and complete a health questionnaire. Depending on their symptoms and infection status, they may undergo more detailed tests such as a chest CT scan, cardiac MRI, electromyography as well as nerve function tests. People entering the study thinking they have never been infected with SARS-CoV-2 will undergo an antibody test to confirm that they have not been exposed.
The severity and range of symptoms of PASC vary widely from patient to patient. Some people who have had COVID for a long time weren’t even very sick to begin with. Some have prolonged symptoms, while others develop new symptoms after overcoming an acute case of COVID-19. Additionally, social determinants of health, such as poor access to care or inability to obtain prompt treatment, can also lead to PASC.
“We would like to better understand what are the risk factors that lead not only to SARS-CoV-2 infection, but to the development of PASC,” Castro said. “Our hope is that ultimately we will be able to give clinicians a strategy to manage these patients.”
The study is open for enrollment to people aged 18 and over who have had COVID-19 in the past, are currently COVID-19 positive and have never tested positive, or have had symptoms of COVID-19. COVID-19. Anyone interested in learning more about this study or participating should contact study coordinator Adam Ruff at [email protected] or 913-574-3932.