Strategic Priorities for COVID-19 Research
2021 NIH-Wide COVID-19 Strategic Plan outlines our plans to address the most recent challenges of COVID-19, such as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection (PASC), or Long COVID, and SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Our work continues to be guided by five strategic priorities.
Priority 1: Improve Fundamental Knowledge
of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 disease progression, outcomes, and recovery
Priority 2: Advance Research to Improve Detection
by developing and validating new assays and retooling existing diagnostic platforms
Priority 3: Support Research to Advance Treatment
by evaluating new or repurposing existing treatments and defining implementation strategies
Priority 4: Accelerate Research to Improve Prevention
by developing vaccines, other methods to prevent transmission, and implementation models
Priority 5: Prevent and Redress Poor COVID-19 Outcomes
in health disparity and vulnerable populations
NIH COVID-19 Resources by Topic
COVID-19 research information and resources by topic from NIH institutes and centers
A Timeline of NIH's Response
As the pandemic has evolved, so have NIH’s response and strategies. Learn how our response has developed over time and how NIH continues to speed development of new testing, treatments, and vaccines while also supporting research on SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19.
April 14, 2022
The FDA authorizes the first COVID-19 diagnostic test that detects chemical compounds in breath samples associated with a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
March 29, 2022
The FDA authorizes a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for older people and certain immunocompromised individuals.
January 31, 2022
The FDA approves the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (Spikevax) for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 18 years of age and older.
January 14, 2022
The Biden Administration announces plans to begin sending free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests for free to American households.
January 3, 2022
The FDA amends its emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to expand booster dose eligibility to individuals 12 and older and shorten the time between primary vaccination and booster doses to at least five months. Two days later, the FDA shortens the time between primary vaccination and booster doses for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to at least five months.
December 22, 2021
The FDA authorizes the emergency use of Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets) to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients 12 and older who are at high risk for severe disease. It is the first oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 authorized for use by the FDA.
The following day, the FDA authorizes the emergency use of molnupiravir pills to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults who are at high risk of severe disease.
December 9, 2021
The FDA expands eligibility for Pfizer COVID-19 booster doses to include individuals age 16 and 17.
December 8, 2021
The FDA authorizes the emergency use of Evusheld (tixagevimab co-packaged with cilgavimab and administered together) for the pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) of COVID-19 in adults and children with moderately to severely compromised immune systems or a history of severe reactions to vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines.
December 2, 2021
President Biden makes his second visit to NIH and delivers remarks on the White House’s strategy for fighting COVID-19 during the winter.
November 19, 2021
The FDA expands booster dose eligibility for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, authorizing them for emergency use as a single booster dose for all individuals 18 years of age and older.
November 15, 2021
NIH begins a study to determine the long-term effects of COVID-19 infection on the physical and mental health of children and young adults.
November 2, 2021
NIH announces a four-year research effort on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on women infected with SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy and their children.
October 29, 2021
The FDA authorizes the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in children ages 5 through 11.
October 20, 2021
The FDA authorizes the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines for emergency use as booster doses for qualifying individuals at least six months after the completion of their primary vaccination series. The FDA also allows individuals to choose which vaccine to receive as a booster dose, a practice known as heterologous or “mix and match” dosing.
September 22, 2021
The FDA authorizes the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use as a single booster dose for qualifying individuals at least six months after the completion of their primary vaccination series.
September 15, 2021
NIH announces $470 million in funding for a nationwide study of tens of thousands of people to support research on the long-term effects of COVID-19.
August 27, 2021
NIH launches a clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose in people with autoimmune disease who did not respond to an original COVID-19 vaccine regimen.
August 23, 2021
The FDA approves the first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.
July 2, 2021
NIH announces an additional $15 million in funding to support the safe return of students and staff to in-person schooling in areas with vulnerable and underserved populations.
June 23, 2021
NIH research begins on COVID-19 vaccination during and after pregnancy to study how antibodies are transferred through the placenta and breastmilk.
June 14, 2021
A Phase 3 clinical trial for the NIH-supported NVX-CoV2373 (Novavax) vaccine shows promising results.
June 1, 2021
NIH launches an early-phase clinical trial on booster doses of different COVID-19 vaccines to determine the safety and efficacy of mixed vaccine regimens.
April 29, 2021
Supported by the American Rescue Plan, NIH announces $29 million to fund additional grants for the NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities.
April 15, 2021
NIH announces the Safe Return to School Diagnostic Testing Initiative, which will award up to $33 million to fund projects to build evidence on safely returning students, teachers, and support staff to in-person school in areas with vulnerable and underserved populations.
March 31, 2021
In collaboration with the CDC, NIH launches self-testing initiatives for counties in North Carolina and Tennessee to determine if frequent self-administered COVID-19 testing can help residents reduce community transmission.
March 2, 2021
A new NIH research effort, called the Collaboration to Assess Risk and Identify Long-term Outcomes for Children with COVID (CARING for Children with COVID), seeks to understand the effects of COVID-19 on children.
February 27, 2021
The FDA issues an Emergency Use Authorization for the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supported the development of the single-shot vaccine, which does not require special refrigeration.
February 23, 2021
NIH launches a new initiative called Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), to study “Long COVID.”
February 12, 2021
President Biden visits the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center at NIH.
December 18, 2020
After thorough evaluation, the FDA authorizes the NIH-Moderna vaccine for emergency use for people 18 years of age and older.
December 16, 2020
NIH launches Pediatric Research Immune Network on SARS-CoV-2 and MIS-C (PRISM) study to evaluate health outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 in children.
December 15, 2020
An NIH-funded COVID-19 home test, developed with support from the RADx initiative, receives emergency use authorization from the FDA.
(Ellume USA photo)
December 14, 2020
The first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine — developed with clinical trial support from NIH — are administered in the United States under emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
November 20, 2020
NIH expands research to improve COVID-19 testing among underserved and vulnerable populations.
November 16, 2020
NIH announces promising interim results from clinical trial of NIH–Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
September 10, 2020
NIH launches two Phase 3 clinical trials testing blood-clotting treatments for COVID-19 as part of the ACTIV initiative.
July 8, 2020
NIH launches the COVID-19 Prevention Network, a clinical trials network to test COVID-19 vaccines and other prevention tools.
May 15, 2020
The U.S. government launches a coordinated effort to enable faster approval and production of COVID-19 vaccines.
April 29, 2020
NIH launches the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) initiative to speed innovation leading to reliable diagnostic testing.
April 17, 2020
NIH launches the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) initiative, a public–private partnership focused on developing treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.
March 27, 2020
The United States passes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill. The CARES Act includes $940 million for NIH. Additional government funding allocated to NIH at later dates.
January 31, 2020
The United States declares a public health emergency.
January 13, 2020
NIH and Moderna finalize the design of a vaccine candidate and begin working to produce it.
January 10, 2020
The genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is released.