Terms & Definitions
Long COVID is a patient created term broadly defined as signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. The signs, symptoms, and conditions are present four weeks or more after the initial phase of infection; may be multisystemic; and may present with a relapsing–remitting pattern and progression or worsen over time, with the possibility of severe and life-threatening events even months or years after infection. Long COVID is not one condition. It represents many potentially overlapping entities, likely with different biological causes and different sets of risk factors and outcomes.
Post-COVID-19 Conditions is equivalent to the lay term Long COVID, and is used to describe the new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after initial infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Post-acute Sequelae of SARS CoV-2 infection is a term used in the scientific and medical communities that refers to ongoing, relapsing, or new symptoms or other health effects occurring after the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This definition will be revised in an iterative manner based on existing and new data, medical literature, and feedback from the scientific community.
Fully understanding the implications of Long COVID requires a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach, and strong public and private partnerships. The National Research Action Plan provides the first U.S. government-wide national research agenda focused on advancing prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and provision of services and supports for individuals and families experiencing Long COVID.
The current U.S. government research portfolio spans the following seven areas: characterizing the full clinical spectrum of long COVID and diagnostic strategies; pathophysiology; surveillance and epidemiology; Long COVID and overall wellbeing; therapeutics and other health interventions; human services, supports, and interventions; and health services and health economics research and is described in greater detail in The National Research Action Plan.
As the U.S. government continues to make advancements in research, much more must be done to support people experiencing Long COVID symptoms and to inform care and support for patients, their families, and caregivers. By focusing on health equity, we are ensuring that research and any resulting policy and programmatic actions are effective and responsive to the needs of affected populations.
If you’re a healthcare provider interested in promoting RECOVER enrollment, access promotional materials here.
Check out the Health+ Long COVID Report, commissioned by HHS and produced by Coforma a third-party independent design research agency.
The report compliments the existing landscape of Long COVID statistics, scientific literature, and policy making with over 1,000 hours on interviews with caregivers, frontline workers, and people experiencing Long COVID and its associated conditions.
Clinical trials are medical research studies with volunteers. The goal is to determine whether a new treatment or vaccine works and is safe for people to use. After researchers thoroughly test new treatments or vaccines in the lab to make sure they may benefit people, the most promising treatments move into clinical trials.
NIH’s RECOVER Initiative is launching multiple clinical trials to treat or prevent the ongoing health effects that some people experience after SARS-CoV-2 infection. For more information visit the National Institutes of Health clinical trial website.
To address Long COVID, collaboration is vital. Community members, organizations and partners can help communicate; identify gaps in services, supports, and policy; advance the science; disseminate information and resources; and implement and support critical activities. For general inquiries, or to update us on your important work contact us at Longcovid@hhs.gov
Health Education Materials
Share information with your friends, family, and followers: