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OU Health to help study long-term effects of COVID-19

How long can I expect a COVID-19 illness to last?
Posted at 1:34 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 14:34:19-05

OKLAHOMA CITY — OU Health announced Tuesday it's going to participate in a national study on the long-term effects of COVID-19.

The National Institutes of Health initiative study will provide more than $1 million to OU Health to take part.

The RECOVER Initiative aims to learn why some people have lingering symptoms or new symptoms — referred to as "long COVID" — after the acute phase of infection from the virus.

The most common symptoms include pain, headaches, fatigue, “brain fog,” shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, fever, chronic cough and sleep problems.

“This is a unique opportunity to be part of a nationwide study that investigates the impact of post-acute sequelae from SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), which includes long COVID," said Timothy VanWagoner, Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the study for OU Health.

"In other viral infections, you rarely see long-term symptoms at the rate we have seen with COVID-19. If we can understand the biological underpinning of these symptoms, that may help us to better treat people who continue to have problems for weeks or months after the infection is over."

The Oklahoma Clinical and Translational Science Institute will be used to enroll patients from across the state, including those in rural and medically underserved areas. OU Health is among more than 30 academic healthcare institutions across the nation enrolling patients in the study.

About 80 adults in three different study categories will enroll through OU Health One will include individuals with a past COVID-19 infection who continue to have symptoms. Another group will be comprised of people with a recent COVID-19 infection who may or may not continue to have symptoms. To serve as study controls, the final group will feature people who have never had COVID-19.

Participants will undergo tests and other analyses, depending on the category.

Current data show that 10% to 30% of people who have had a serious COVID-19 infection will continue to experience symptoms for at least one month.

“The RECOVER study is important because researchers around the country will be sharing their findings in real time in an effort to find answers as quickly as possible,” said Judith James, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the study for OU Health and director of the OCTSI. “We hope to discover factors that put people at higher risk for ‘long COVID’, as well as protective factors. That information will be critical for preventing and treating the long-term effects of the virus.”

OU Health says this study will focus on adults, but a study on younger patients is on the way.

For more information about enrolling in the study, call (405) 271-3490 or email

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