$3.9M NIH Grant Awarded for Research on Long Covid
Scientists at Albany Medical College have been awarded a five-year, $3.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study biomarkers present in the blood of patients who have had Covid-19 but continue to experience symptoms for weeks or months after the initial infection.
“Ultimately, our goal is to develop a blood test that pinpoints those who are most susceptible to severe forms of Covid-19 and identifies the likelihood that someone will experience long Covid,” said Albany Medical Center pulmonary and critical care physician Ariel Jaitovich, MD, associate professor of medicine and of molecular and cellular physiology at Albany Medical College, who is leading the study.
In collaboration with scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Jaitovich will analyze blood samples drawn from patients at Albany Medical Center’s outpatient Post-Covid Care Clinic. He and his team will sequence the DNA, then the University of Wisconsin scientists will perform additional complex bioinformatics computations. Through whole genome sequencing, the researchers will work to establish the subphenotypes of long Covid.
During the first year of the pandemic, Dr. Jaitovich and his partners at the University of Wisconsin pioneered the use of mass spectrometry, an analytical tool that measures the mass of biomolecules, to identify the molecular signatures of Covid-19.
“This new analysis will advance our knowledge of the epigenetic signature of long Covid, helping us to predict which patients are most vulnerable to developing lingering symptoms and opening the doors to future clinical trials aimed at improving patients’ outcomes,” said Dr. Jaitovich.
Titled, “Blood DNA Methylation Biomarkers of Post Acute Sequelae of SARS CoV 2 Infection (PASC),” the study is funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.