RECOVER Study of Paxlovid to Treat Long Covid Begins January 2023, Has Implications for ME/CFS

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that the use of Paxlovid to treat Long Covid will be the first treatment to be studied by its $1 billion RECOVER Initiative. The Duke Clinical Research Institute is supervising the randomized, placebo-controlled trial, which will test Pfizer’s treatment or a placebo in 1,700 volunteers aged 18 and older, scheduled to start on Jan. 1, 2023. The trial will investigate the  hypothesis that Long Covid is caused by the persistence of fragments of the COVID-19 virus in the tissues of those who suffer from lingering symptoms.

Solve M.E. led the charge for the $1.15 billion investment in the RECOVER program for Long Covid research and clinical trials, with $100 million specifically used for the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics. The funds will remain available to the NIH until September 30, 2024.

Solve President and CEO Oved Amitay noted, “This study will help us understand if it’s possible to successfully treat an infection-associated disease long after the acute phase infection is over. If disabling symptoms such as fatigue, ‘brain fog’ and post-exertion malaise could be improved by an effective antiviral treatment months after the initial infection, the implications for people with Long Covid and ME/CFS would be considerable. Positive outcomes may spark an interest in fighting other viruses such as Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), that have been implicated as a trigger for ME/CFS. Solve and other advocates fought hard for NIH funding to study these possibilities, and now it’s happening. This news comes later than we had hoped for, but we are encouraged that treatment options are finally starting to be tested.”

In November 2021, NIH representative Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), joined Amitay for a  discussion of how the RECOVER Initiative will impact people with ME/CFS.  

Watch that webinar here.

“I’m eager to see the results of this study,” said Solve Vice President of Advocacy and Engagement Emily Taylor. “We’ve always known that early diagnosis, treatment and intervention yields better long-term results for people with post-infection illness. This trial promises to be the first potential treatment during that critical early onset period within the first year or two. It’s too early to say, but I’m hoping that these studies find a treatment that prevents ME/CFS after an infection.”

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