American Lung Association Announces 24 COVID-19 Studies; Focus on ‘Long COVID’

Organization builds upon significant COVID-19 investment by NHLBI to help support lung health research advancing viral outbreak response

As the nation’s trusted champion of lung health, the American Lung Association today announced it is supporting 24 COVID-19 research studies, including a few with National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to determine susceptibility and treatment for ‘long COVID.’ This research commitment is part of the organization’s ongoing three-year $25 million COVID-19 Action Initiative.

Long COVID conditions involve a wide range of new, recurring or ongoing health problems that some people experience four or more weeks after being infected with SARS-CoV-2. Some individuals had mild symptoms or were initially asymptomatic yet are still experiencing long-lasting COVID symptoms post infection. Estimates indicate more than 12 million Americans are presently living with long COVID. Because of the growing number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 survivors, the Lung Association has identified long COVID as a high-priority research area.

The organization has invested in 24 research projects, including the support of grants with the NHLBI, Lung Association’s COVID-19 & Respiratory Viruses Research Award, and Airways Clinical Research Centers’ ancillary studies.

“We’re appreciative of the American Lung Association for our ongoing collaboration in lung disease research,” said James P. Kiley, Director of the Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “These new supplements to our COVID studies will contribute to an improved understanding of long COVID and better patient outcomes.”

New Grants Supported by NHLBI

  • Recovery After COVID-19 Hospitalization (REACH): Infection with SARS-CoV-2 can be life-threatening and, for many survivors of COVID-19, life-altering. This research project will leverage the NHLBI PETAL Network's COVID-19 observational (CORAL) study of more than 1,300 patients hospitalized with COVID across the U.S. to study the epidemiology, patient and family experience, and health care delivery over the first year after hospital discharge. Researchers will investigate trajectories of recovery, and factors associated with better or poorer outcomes, including approaches to caring for patients with long COVID. They will use qualitative and quantitative methods, including interviews, surveys, objective functional testing, and biospecimen collection, to conduct a rich investigation of Recovery after COVID-19 Hospitalization (REACH). 
  • Collaborative Cohort of Cohorts for COVID-19 Research (C4R) CT: This study, supported by NHLBI, is using artificial intelligence to standardize 30,000 CT scans to understand how both severe and mild (even asymptomatic) scarring and other changes in the lung predispose people to COVID-19 and long COVID.

American Lung Association COVID-19 Grants

  • COVID-19 & Respiratory Viruses Research Award: This Lung Association award, which has been granted to 13 research projects so far with another seven to be announced next month, is intended to support investigators who have the ability to advance our knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 and other novel respiratory viruses with pandemic potential. Recipients receive $200,000 in funding for two years.

Lung Association’s Airways Clinical Research Centers’ Ancillary Studies

  • Lung Health Cohort COVID-19 Ancillary Study: This ancillary study to the American Lung Association/NHLBI Lung Health Cohort aims to determine the impact of sociodemographic characteristics and health behaviors on serologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and self-reported COVID-19 diagnoses. The study will also investigate the impact of regional disease mitigation policies, and association of self-reported COVID and confirmed infection on long-term lung health.
  • LEEP COVID-19 Ancillary Study: The Losartan Effects on Emphysema Progression (LEEP) COVID-19 ancillary study is also supported by NHLBI. It is funded by the Lung Association to determine the prevalence and severity of COVID in this study population as well as examine whether losartan (versus placebo) is beneficial to the COPD patients in the ongoing LEEP clinical trial.

In April 2020, the American Lung Association swiftly responded to the global crisis by launching the COVID-19 Action Initiative to end COVID and defend against future respiratory virus pandemics. The COVID-19 Action Initiative has since expanded the Lung Association’s ongoing respiratory research program and recommended enhanced public health measures.

“Thanks to our extensive network of supporters, including our longstanding partnership with NHLBI, we continue to make strides in stopping the spread and devastating effects of COVID. Our COVID-19 Action Initiative has been a way to mobilize our research efforts on a large scale at an accelerated pace,” said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer.

For media seeking an interview with an American Lung Association-funded researcher or lung health expert, contact Jill Dale at [email protected] or 312-940-7001.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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