NIH COVID-19 Research Initiatives
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NIH launched a variety of efforts across its institutes and centers, as well as partnerships between the federal government and private industry. These efforts aim to accelerate research-based solutions in testing, treatments, and vaccines and to support researchers, health care providers, and those hardest hit by the pandemic.
These efforts directly support NIH’s strategic priorities outlined in the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research:
- Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV)
- Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx)
- Clinical Data Coordination Group
- Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities
- Pregnant and Lactating Women and Children
- Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative
- Social, Behavioral, and Economic Health Impacts
Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV)
ACTIV is a public-private partnership to coordinate research and speed the development of the most promising COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
Coordinated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), ACTIV brings NIH together with its sibling agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); other government agencies including the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); The Operation (formerly known as Operation Warp Speed); the European Medicines Agency (EMA); and representatives from academia, philanthropic organizations, and numerous biopharmaceutical companies.
The ACTIV site includes up-to-date information on master protocols for therapeutics and vaccine trials.
Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx)
NIH launched the RADx initiative to encourage innovation to speed the development and availability of COVID-19 tests. RADx programs include RADx Advanced Technology Platforms (RADx-ATP), RADx Radical (RADx-rad), RADx Tech, and RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP).
The RADx site includes information about each of the programs and projects funded through the initiative.
Clinical Data Coordination Group
The Clinical Data Coordination Group is working to align COVID-19 data efforts both inside and outside NIH. Its goal is to leverage insights and identify use cases around policy, data harmonization, technology, outreach, and analytics to create a COVID-19 data coordination strategy.
Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities
CEAL focuses on providing trustworthy information to the people hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic through active community engagement and outreach. CEAL research teams are currently active in 11 states, working to support and expand existing NIH community outreach through COVID-19 trial networks. The CEAL website includes resources in English and Spanish and information on current research studies.
Pregnant and Lactating Women and Children
The Trans-NIH COVID Workgroup on Pregnant and Lactating Women and Children, co-led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), aims to use the collective strength of 18+ institutes and centers at NIH to accelerate research related to the impact of COVID-19 on children and on people who are pregnant or nursing. Trans-NIH efforts include data harmonization activities and research projects that will improve our understanding of COVID-19.
Current research for children includes:
Collaboration to Assess Risk and Identify Long-term Outcomes for Children with COVID (CARING for Children with COVID). Funded by NICHD and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, as well as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, studies developed by this program research why some children are at greater risk for infection, why symptoms vary among children, and how to identify children at risk for severe illness. The program helps researchers track and understand multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a serious condition in which multiple body parts can become inflamed.
Predicting Viral-Associated Inflammatory Disease Severity in Children with Laboratory Diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence (PreVAIL kIds). PreVAIL kIds is funded by the RADx Radical (RADx-rad) program to support new approaches and address gaps in COVID-19 testing and surveillance.
Safe Return to School for All. Supported by the RADx initiative, this project summarizes the recommended best practices for safely returning children with disabilities to in-person school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current research for pregnant people includes:
Gestational Research Assessments for COVID-19 (GRAVID) Study. This study analyzes the medical records of more than 24,000 women to understand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and newborns during and after pregnancy. Researchers will evaluate whether changes to healthcare delivery led to higher rates of complications and cesarean delivery and establish the risk of pregnant women with COVID-19 transmitting the virus to their fetus.
Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research. This study seeks to compare the maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes of women infected with SARS-CoV-2 to those of non-infected women The study will enroll approximately 2,000 pregnant women for each site in Kenya, Zambia, Guatemala, India (Belagavi and Nagpur), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative
Long after they recover from the initial stages of COVID-19 illness, many people continue to experience symptoms. These symptoms are diverse and include what has come to be known as “Long COVID” and include fatigue, shortness of breath, “brain fog,” sleep disorders, gastrointestinal symptoms, anxiety, and depression, which can persist for months and range from mild to incapacitating. NIH launched a series of Research Opportunity Announcements to learn more about how SARS-CoV-2 may cause such symptoms and other long term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection and develop ways to treat or prevent them.
Social, Behavioral, and Economic Health Impacts
The Social, Behavioral, and Economic Health (SBE) initiative is committed to reducing the social, behavioral, and economic health impacts of COVID-19 — especially on those communities most affected by the pandemic — through both data science and community and digital interventions.