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Long-Covid: BMBF funds research into causes and therapeutic approaches

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Many people who have been infected with the coronavirus are struggling with physical and psychological conditions even after the acute illness. Recently, new projects have been launched to research these late effects, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). DLR Projektträger has been commissioned to implement the measure.

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7th April 2022 — Covid-19 is a complex disease pattern that has not yet been fully deciphered. Late effects occur regardless of whether those affected had a severe or comparatively mild course of the disease. Common symptoms include persistent fatigue, breathing difficulties, concentration and memory problems as well as olfactory, gustatory and sleep disturbances. In order to better understand these consequences and to be able to provide the best possible medical care and support to people suffering from this disease, the BMBF has launched a call for funding on the topic of Long-Covid.

Ten research consortia launched

Ten research consortia were selected on the basis of an international review. Since the beginning of March, all of them have started their work. "The consortia are investigating Long-Covid from different angles. In some projects, treatment approaches are being tested, such as drug therapies, occupational therapy or an individually tailored exercise programme," says Dr. Friederike Bathe, Scientific Officer in the Clinical Research and Digital Health Department at DLR-PT. "Other projects aim to characterise more precisely the specific care needs of certain patient groups – for example children and adolescents, in the psychosocial area or in rehabilitation – in order to be able to tailor future services even better," says Bathe.
The BMBF is providing a total of up to 6.5 million Euros for the funding measure until 2024.

DLR Projektträger contributing scientific expertise and organising evaluation

With the involvement of an international and interdisciplinary expert panel , the ten research consortia were selected for funding. In addition, a patient representative took part in the selection process. DLR-PT supported the BMBF both in the preparation and in the implementation of the review process. Bathe and other Department of Health employees contributed their scientific expertise as well as administrative know-how to the conception of the funding guideline on Long-Covid and are supervising the administrative implementation of the projects selected for funding on behalf of the BMBF.

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Long-Covid – using Synergies

The measure complements and expands existing BMBF funding modules for Covid-19: The research consortia funded under the Long-Covid measure can draw on existing samples and data. These are collected, for example, in the Network of University Medicine (NUM), in particular in the National Pandemic Cohort Network (NAPKON). The NUM is also managed by DLR-PT in close coordination with the Ministry.

Main and Other Contacts

Contact at DLR Projektträger