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Opinion
Lisa Jarvis

Faster Progress Is Needed on Treatments for Long Covid

The “persistent virus” theory merits more investigation — including trials to understand whether antiviral drugs can treat lingering symptoms.

Can the coronavirus lurk in people months after an infection?

Can the coronavirus lurk in people months after an infection?

Photographer: CDC/Getty Images

Long Covid is making it hard for millions of Americans to return to normal life, pushing some out of the workforce altogether, sometimes permanently. Yet medical efforts to figure out how best to help these patients are proceeding only slowly.

Research has zeroed in on a few probable causes of long Covid, perhaps the most intriguing of which is the idea that the coronavirus sometimes lingers in the body undetected for months after an initial infection. The theories should not be difficult to investigate, and the National Institutes of Health has $1.2 billion to spend on the work. But it’s not moving fast enough.