What is Long Covid?
Long Covid is a condition in which a subset of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop a wide range of debilitating chronic symptoms that do not resolve even years later. No FDA-approved treatments exist. These symptoms frequently impact the brain, the heart, the lungs, and the nervous system. A growing body of evidence now positions SARS-CoV-2 viral reservoir at the center of the Long Covid disease process. Spike protein has been found in Long Covid blood and SARS-CoV-2 has been shown capable of persisting for months after initial illness, in tissues including the brain, the lungs, and the lining of the gut.
The CDC estimates that 7.5% of the current adult US population is now suffering with Long Covid. In just the last 12 months, the number of patients has doubled to 150 million adults and 13 million children worldwide. In addition to the human cost, this brings a financial cost of $386 billion just to the US economy alone.
Despite the enormity of the problem, global research efforts are underfunded and moving slowly. There is no research program specifically focused on viral reservoir in Long Covid – the central question in the disease – and no clinical trials program focused on therapeutics to clear the virus. LCRI is jump-starting both research and clinical trials by building a global coalition of diverse stakeholders: scientists, philanthropists, pharma, and the patient community, who will all contribute their support and shared expertise to tackle Long Covid. By engaging private funders and working as a lean organization, we are moving rapidly and openly, sharing ideas and research results across different institutions, laboratories, and clinics.