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Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks after COVID-19 infection.
But some people, including many Latinos, develop long COVID.
Long COVID remains an unresolved threat to the health of Latinos and all people.
While health experts don’t yet fully understand long COVID symptoms and risk factors, progress is being made regarding treatment.
Let’s learn more about how researchers are working to find the most effective therapies for long COVID through research studies and clinical trials.
Relieving the Burden of Long COVID Symptoms
Now, based on RECOVER research findings in the last two years, NIH has launched and is opening enrollment for phase 2 clinical trials that will evaluate at least four potential treatments for long COVID, with additional clinical trials to test at least seven more treatments in the coming months, according to a press release.
Treatments will include drugs, biologics, medical devices, and other therapies.
“We know that when patients are suffering, we can never move fast enough,” said Acting NIH Director Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak. “NIH is committed to a highly coordinated and scientifically rigorous approach to find treatments that will provide relief for the millions of people living with long COVID.”
Latinos and Long COVID
Latinos suffered disproportionately devastating health and economic losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many Latino families are still struggling to recover, including those suffering from long COVID.
Data suggests that there are many Latinos who may benefit from long COVID treatments.
In Colorado, nearly one-fourth (23%) of Latinos are suffering from long-term COVID symptoms. Similarly, 28% of Latinos in The Bronx reported that they had lingering symptoms, the highest reported symptoms of any of the city’s racial/ethnic groups.
That’s why long COVID treatments are desperately needed to enhance this population’s recovery from COVID-19.
“We know some people have had their lives completely upended by the major long-term effects of COVID-19,” NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins said in a press release. “These studies will aim to determine the cause and find much needed answers to prevent this often-debilitating condition and help those who suffer move toward recovery.”
Why More Latinos Are Needed in COVID-19 Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies with volunteers that help researchers learn how to slow, manage, and treat different diseases, including long COVID.
However, Latinos are underrepresented in clinical trials for COVID-19, cancer, and other health conditions.
This makes it more challenging for researchers to find treatments that work best for Latinos.
“Without an accurate representation of the Latino population in clinical trials, this population may miss out on life-saving opportunities,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.
Therefore, Latino representation in clinical trials is vital to achieving a “just recovery” from COVID-19.
Just ask Emelina Asto-Flores.
She participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial to help other Latinos.
“I participated in this trial because I wanted to represent my community — the Latino community,” Emelina said.
Emelina is one of the Salud Heroes being uplifted as part of Dr. Amelie Ramirez’s new effort to urge Latinos to volunteer for clinical trials thanks to a grant from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.
Ramirez also is raising awareness of and showcasing open clinical trials and uplifting the stories of Latinos who have benefited from trials.
“With more Latino volunteers for clinical trials, researchers would have greater opportunity to find better prevention and treatments for diseases that affect this population,” Ramirez said.
You Can Help Promote Health Equity
You have the power to help Latinos and all people achieve health equity post pandemic.
You can help researchers learn more about long COVID through research studies, such as RECOVER, and by enrolling in clinical trials.
Looking for clinical trials for cancer, Alzheimer’s, or other conditions? Search open clinical trials on the Salud America! clinical trials page.