Researchers from Mass General Brigham have been selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for an important research opportunity to help the country rapidly improve understanding of recovery after COVID-19 infection and to prevent and treat the long-term complications, collectively referred to as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).
Mass General Brigham assembled a team to respond to the research opportunities that were announced by the NIH in February as part of the new PASC initiative to characterize the prevalence and risk factors for long-term outcomes of COVID-19 infection and to develop ways to treat or prevent these conditions. The PASC Initiative aims to assemble a nationwide multi-cohort study to help researchers learn more about how COVID-19 may lead to such widespread and lasting symptoms.
In a statement announcing the initiative, Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the NIH said, “We believe that the insight we gain from this research will enhance our knowledge of the basic biology of how humans recover from infection, and improve our understanding of other post-viral syndromes and autoimmune diseases, among others.”
Mass General Brigham researchers were selected to serve as the PASC Data Resource Core to support and contribute to the collection, coordination, and analysis of data collected on PASC patients, including COVID-19 “long-haulers,” throughout the nation. The PASC Data Resource Core will provide expertise on study design and facilitate the collection and analysis of standardized data across different cohort studies. The team will be led by Andrea Foulkes, ScD, Chief of Biostatistics at Massachusetts General Hospital, Elizabeth Karlson, MD, MS Director of Rheumatic Disease Epidemiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Shawn Murphy, MD, PhD, Chief Research Information Officer at Mass General Brigham, and will include complementary teams from Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“We are so proud of our talented research leaders at Mass General Brigham who immediately and skillfully responded to the request of the NIH for the patient, medical, and scientific communities to come together. In partnership with the NIH, and most importantly for the benefit of our patients, we look forward to better understanding, managing, and hopefully preventing and treating the long-term medical consequences of this trying infection,” said Ravi Thadhani, MD, MPH, Chief Academic Officer of Mass General Brigham.
The PASC Data Resource Core is a four-year, multimillion dollar project that will begin immediately.
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