May 23, 2022

UCLA research team receives $1M grant to study long COVID

A team of researchers at UCLA Health has received a $1 million research grant from the American Heart Association to study the cardiovascular effects of long COVID. 

Over the next three years, Dr. Jeffrey Hsu, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and principal investigator of the study, alongside Dr. Reza Ardehali, associate professor of cardiology and molecular, cellular and integrative physiology; Gerard Wong, professor of bioengineering and chemistry & biochemistry; and Melody Li, assistant professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, will investigate whether lingering fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 virus might remain even after the body has cleared the full virus, and trigger an overactive immune response. They hypothesize that these viral fragments may contribute to the ongoing symptoms experienced by patients with long COVID.

“We believe this is a novel hypothesis for what’s causing the long-term effects seen in patients with long COVID, and our hope is to ultimately identify effective therapies for this new, often debilitating syndrome” said Hsu, adding that the team is particularly interested in researching long COVID’s contribution to COVID-19-associated myocarditis and pericarditis — conditions that swell or inflame heart tissue.