NIH Opens Enrollment for Long COVID Clinical Trials

August 31, 2023

As part of its Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative, NIH has opened enrollment for clinical trials at sites around the country that will test potential treatments for Long COVID. Treatments include drugs, biologics, medical devices, and other therapies.

What is being tested?

The RECOVER clinical trials will be conducted using “platform protocols,” under which multiple treatments for a single disease can be tested simultaneously. As of August 2023, two protocols are active.

  • RECOVER-VITAL will test whether a longer course of Paxlovid, an antiviral drug used to treat acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, is also effective at ridding the body of chronic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Researchers believe that the persistence of the virus in the body may lead to symptoms of Long COVID.
  • RECOVER-NEURO will test brain-training and stimulation interventions for brain fog, memory and problem-solving issues, and other cognitive effects of Long COVID. Treatments tested will include web-based brain training and goal management programs and a device used to stimulate brain activity and blood flow.

Additional protocols will launch in the coming months.

  • RECOVER-SLEEP will study treatments for changes in sleep patterns and the ability to sleep after having COVID-19. Treatments tested will include drugs that promote wakefulness (to treat excessive daytime sleepiness) and other interventions to improve sleep quality.
  • RECOVER-AUTONOMIC will study treatments related to symptoms of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates heart rate, breathing, and digestion, among other functions. The first trials will focus on treatments for people who develop postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) following SARS-CoV-2 infection.

A fifth protocol is being developed to study interventions for exercise intolerance and fatigue associated with Long COVID.