The Long Covid Research Initiative has developed a comprehensive research program with the goal not only to understand if Long Covid patients still harbor the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but to determine what exactly the virus is doing to drive chronic disease. We will identify the virus’s effects on the immune system, and its impact on a wide range of processes such as blood clotting, nerve signaling, and cognitive function.
The LCRI Research Program contains studies spanning the following topics:
These projects push the boundaries of how cutting-edge technologies can be used in the study of chronic disease. These include sequencing technologies like spatial transcriptomics that allow for a detailed understanding of immune activity near identified virus; whole-body PET imaging technologies that allow for visualization of SARS-CoV-2 in deep tissue reservoirs; and single nuclei RNA sequencing to characterize the landscape of tissue, blood vessel, and nervous system changes.
Our Clinical Trials Program will build on the findings of the Research Program to identify a pipeline of therapeutics that LCRI will position into clinical trials. Candidate therapeutics include SARS-CoV-2 antivirals, immunomodulators, targeted anticoagulants, and microbiome-based therapeutics. We will draw on the patient community to communicate the urgent need for rapid clinical trials to regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies.
We stand at an important moment in time. Viruses beyond SARS-CoV-2 – such as Epstein-Barr Virus and the enteroviruses – are increasingly implicated in a growing number of chronic conditions, including ME/CFS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. Bacterial pathogens such as Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) are also increasingly connected to the development of chronic disease symptoms. Persistent viral or bacterial activity may even play a role in the human aging process, positioning this work at the center of longevity research. We will iterate the LCRI collaborative infrastructure and cutting-edge technologies toward the study of pathogen activity in these related conditions. This could usher in an era in which antivirals, immunotherapies, and related therapeutics become treatment possibilities for millions of patients across the globe.