New NIH Trials Target Long COVID Symptoms

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is launching new clinical trials to investigate treatments for common long COVID symptoms. These trials are part of the ongoing NIH RECOVER Initiative, which aims to understand, diagnose, and treat long-term effects of COVID-19 infection.

Focus on Sleep and Exercise Issues

The new trials will target three prevalent and debilitating long COVID symptoms: sleep disturbances, exercise intolerance, and post-exertional malaise (PEM). PEM is a worsening of symptoms after physical or mental exertion.

  • Sleep Studies (RECOVER-SLEEP): These trials will test existing medications and therapies for sleep problems, including modafinil, solriamfetol, melatonin, and light therapy. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either the active treatment or a placebo for a set period.

  • Exercise Studies (RECOVER-ENERGIZE): These trials will compare two approaches for managing exercise intolerance and PEM. One trial will test a personalized cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program that combines exercise training, education, and support. The other trial will assess the effectiveness of structured pacing, a self-management program designed to help patients identify and minimize PEM symptoms.

Both RECOVER-SLEEP and RECOVER-ENERGIZE trials prioritize participant safety and were developed with input from patient advocacy groups.

Diverse Participation and Ongoing Research

Inclusion of diverse participants across the US is a key focus for the RECOVER Initiative. Study sites are chosen based on location, community connections, and experience enrolling diverse research participants.

These four new trials add to the six ongoing RECOVER studies, bringing the total number of tested treatments to 13 across eight clinical trials.

For more information on participating in a RECOVER trial, visit

Posted May 2024.

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