The U.S. government is launching a nationwide initiative studying COVID-19 patients who suffer from long-term symptoms months after recovery, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced during a White House briefing on Wednesday.
"(There are) a lot of important questions that are now unanswered that we hope with this series of initiatives we will ultimately answer," Fauci said.
A study published in JAMA Network Open last week found about 30% of COVID-19 patients reported persistent symptoms as long as 9 months after contracting the virus, the outlet reported.
Symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, sleeping disorders, fevers, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety and depression, and “brain-fog.”
"Sometimes these symptoms arise well after the time of infection or they evolve over time and they may persist ... for months, and can range from mild, annoying to actually quite incapacitating," Fauci said.
A newly founded database and biobank named the COVID-19 Neuro Databank-Biobank or the (NeuroCOVID Project) aimed to integrating data from existing COVID-19 projects.
The NeuroCOVID Project is asking institutions and individual clinicians to submit information about any neurological symptoms, underlying medical conditions, disease course, complications and outcomes.
“As so many people got sick, it became evident that there were so many patients that seemed to have neurologic conditions that seemed to be associated with COVID,” said Dr. Sharon Meropol, program director of the NeuroCOVID project. “Some of them had new conditions, some of them had existing ones that were exacerbated.”