CERSI Collaborators: Akiko Iwasaki, PhD; Wade Schulz, MD, PhD; Aaron Ring, MD, PhD; Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM
FDA Collaborators: Siobhan Cowley, PhD; Susan Bersoff-Matcha, MD.
Project Start Date: August 2021
Regulatory Science Challenge
Women are more likely than men to be affected by Long COVID, or symptoms that persist for more than 4 weeks after a COVID-19 infection. Researchers do not yet know why, and such knowledge would have implications for diagnoses and therapies. It is known that that during acute COVID-19, men have a greater risk of severe disease and different immune responses than women. Moreover, there is emerging evidence that people with Long COVID who receive the mRNA vaccines may find their symptoms improve. While the vaccine is not the answer for Long COVID, this helps to illuminate the possible causes of Long COVID. Understanding the mechanism by which the vaccine helps reduce symptoms of Long Covid for some people can help determine how Long COVID occurs in the body. Further, there are likely differences between men and women in the causes of Long COVID and, if vaccination changes Long COVID in some people, there likely are differences between men and women in this response. This project will investigate differences in the symptoms and immune systems of people with Long COVID and compare them to those without Long COVID but with evidence of prior COVID-19 infection. The project will also study changes in symptoms and immune systems after vaccination for people with Long COVID.
Project Description and Goals
The overall goal of this project is to understand differences between men and women in the immune responses in Long COVID before and after people receive the vaccine. The objectives will be to determine how people’s immune responses during Long COVID differ from people’s immune responses during acute COVID-19 infection, as well as to determine how vaccination changes the immune responses of people with Long COVID. Within these immune responses and immune changes, the project will identify any differences between men and women’s immune responses. Finally, these changes in immune responses will be studied alongside changes in people’s symptoms.