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Making progress toward recovery

Together we can do more. The RECOVER Initiative brings together scientists, clinicians, patients and caregivers to understand recovery from the long-term effects of COVID and how to predict, treat, and prevent the disease.

Explore Research

RECOVER Research Components

RECOVER Research Components

RECOVER’s robust national research network has the depth and breadth of expertise needed to solve the mystery of Long COVID. The five RECOVER research components are at the core of RECOVER’s research efforts. Learn more.

How Research Works

How Research Works

Learn more about how RECOVER studies work, access RECOVER research protocols, and understand what to expect as a participant in RECOVER studies.

Community Participation

Community Participation

RECOVER includes community voices at all levels of the initiative, as we seek diverse experiences to inform our research.

RECOVER Research Questions

The goal of RECOVER is to understand, prevent, and treat the long-term effects of COVID-19. There are eight guiding research questions whose answers will help us achieve our goal. This summary represents the invaluable contributions of many people and communities and will be updated as RECOVER findings are published.

RECOVER researchers are studying electronic health records to understand the many ways that Long COVID presents in patients. In one study, RECOVER researchers found that Long COVID presents in six distinct clusters: pulmonary, neuropsychiatric, cardiovascular, pain and fatigue, multisystem/pain, and multisystem/laboratory abnormalities. View the study. Another RECOVER study found four categories: heart and kidney; respiratory, sleep, and anxiety problems; musculoskeletal and nerve problems; and digestive and respiratory system problems. View the study. Both studies found similar groupings for various symptoms that people suffering from Long COVID may have. These findings could help health professionals make decisions when seeing and treating patients.

People who were hospitalized and had a positive COVID-19 test between March and December 2020 more often had new symptoms than those who were hospitalized and tested negative, when examined 1 to 5 months after testing positive for COVID-19. The symptoms observed more often for those with a positive COVID-19 test were: shortness of breath (all ages); heart rate abnormalities, fatigue, brain fog, sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes, and muscle weakness (people over age 20); and abnormal heart rate and type 2 diabetes (people under age 20). View the study.

A RECOVER study of people under 21 years of age compared those who tested negative for COVID-19 to those with a positive COVID-19 test between March 2020 and October 2021. People with a positive COVID-19 test had a higher risk for: myocarditis (inflammation of heart) or other heart conditions, respiratory conditions, muscle inflammation, dental problems, fluid and electrolyte disturbance, kidney problems, and treatment for mental health conditions. Findings also indicated an increased risk of symptoms like changes in taste or smell, hair loss, chest pain, skin rashes, fatigue and malaise, fever and chills, generalized pain, diarrhea, and symptoms related to heart and lungs. View the study.

RECOVER researchers found a higher risk of mental health problems, like anxiety disorder and depression, in the first 3 weeks to 4 months after COVID-19 infection in people who had COVID-19 between January 2020 and October 2021 compared to those who had flu or other respiratory infections. View the study.

Last updated February 2023

RECOVER researchers are studying large groups of people over a long period of time to gain a deeper understanding of Long COVID, how long its symptoms last, and whether it can have effects later in life. Learn more about RECOVER Longitudinal Observational Cohort Studies.

Last updated February 2023

RECOVER researchers are studying if Long COVID affects other diseases or health problems that people may have.

Last updated February 2023

RECOVER researchers found evidence that people who tested positive for COVID-19 between March and December 2020 and were hospitalized or received mechanical ventilation during their illness had a higher prevalence of shortness of breath, heart rate abnormalities, fatigue, brain fog, sleep disorder, type 2 diabetes, and muscle weakness at 1 to 5 months after testing positive for COVID-19 compared to people who tested negative for COVID-19. View the study.

Children and young adults (under 21 years of age) who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 2020 and October 2021 and admitted to the ICU, particularly children under 5 years old and those with pre-existing chronic diseases, were found to have a higher risk of developing Long COVID compared to those who tested negative for COVID-19. View the study.

Last updated February 2023

RECOVER researchers are exploring whether variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 vaccines make a difference for developing Long COVID.

RECOVER researchers reviewed more than 15 million electronic medical records of people (age 5 and older) and found that the risk of rare heart problems was significantly higher for people who had COVID-19 as compared to people who received an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) in both males and females across all age groups. The risk was assessed up to 21 days after the infection or receipt of COVID-19 vaccine. View the study.

Last updated February 2023

In addition to the observational cohort studies that re-examine participants over time, RECOVER researchers are conducting more than 40 different pathobiology studies focusing on COVID-19's effects on different body tissues and organs.

Last updated February 2023

At this time, the only known way to prevent Long COVID is to avoid getting COVID-19. The observational cohort studies and the RECOVER Pathobiology Research Program are investigating potential mechanisms for how some people may be protected from Long COVID or some of its symptoms.

Last updated February 2023

RECOVER researchers are making progress toward understanding why some people develop Long COVID and how these long-term symptoms affect one’s health. Based on what they’ve learned so far, RECOVER is preparing to launch clinical trials to test different interventions for Long COVID.

Last updated February 2023

RECOVER Together

Progress takes the best science.

The RECOVER Initiative will collect data from many patients across the country. This will include studies that:

  • Use data from medical records to understand how people are experiencing Long COVID.
  • Examine tissues from research participants to understand changes inside the body.
  • Test different treatments for symptoms experienced by patient participants with Long COVID.

By exploring different ways that people’s bodies are affected by COVID and looking at which treatments may be effective, we can better understand Long COVID. We will then combine all of these data to help answer big questions about PASC, including Long COVID.

The detailed study plan—called the main protocols—is the same for each type of RECOVER study. Using the same study plan for each study type lets us combine data from those studies even though they are taking place at multiple locations. This helps us get answers to important questions faster.

We designed RECOVER so that each type of study brings specific kinds of information that will help us predict, treat, and prevent Long COVID. Various groups of people—known as cohorts—will be included in RECOVER observational cohort studies and RECOVER clinical trial studies. These groups include adults, children and their caregivers, and pregnant women and their newborn babies. Including many different people in RECOVER cohorts will help us understand how different people experience the long-term effects of COVID.

Improving Understanding Through Collaboration

The NIH All of Us Research Program offers COVID-related data and research tools to RECOVER investigators to help drive understanding of the long-term effects of COVID, including Long COVID and other types of PASC (post-acute sequelae of SARS-COV-2 infection). Through the All of Us Researcher Workbench, interested researchers can access the COVID-19 Participant Experience (COPE) survey, electronic health records (EHR), wearable, and genetic data. To explore the kinds of data available through All of Us and register for access, visit the All of Us Research Hub.

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