• Press Release

Mount Sinai Named a Lead Site for Enrollment in Nationwide Study on the Long-Term Effects of COVID-19

Mount Sinai to serve as hub site for adult post-COVID care and tissue pathology studies

  • New York, NY
  • (November 29, 2021)

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will serve as a hub site for two cohort studies contributing to a nationwide health consortium study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The NIH Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative will examine the long-term effects of the virus, which are known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection or “long COVID.” As part of the RECOVER Initiative, which is building a national study of diverse participant research and supporting large-scale studies on long COVID, Mount Sinai will be a hub site for one of the more than 30 research teams across the United States.

NIH awarded nearly $470 million to a national study population to support COVID-19 research including the parent award to New York University (NYU) Langone Health as the RECOVER Clinical Science Core site, and multiple sub-awards to over 100 researchers at more than 30 institutions across the country including Mount Sinai. Icahn Mount Sinai is projected to be awarded an estimated $22 million for four years as a hub site for the two cohorts. Collectively, the studies from various institutions could provide new insights into factors that include the incidence and prevalence of long COVID, the range of symptoms, underlying causes, risk factors, outcomes, and potential treatment and prevention strategies.

Mount Sinai researchers will lead recruitment of an adult cohort to identify, evaluate, and characterize the pace and extent of recovery after severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, the course of clinical care after a severe infection, and the risk factors associated with the severity of this condition. The study will also focus on the biological differences and social determinants that distinguish patients who recover quickly from those who develop long-term effects and symptoms, such as racial and ethnic disparities in risks and outcomes. The participant group will include people during various phases of SARS-CoV-2 infection including the acute and post-acute stages, as well as pregnant people.

“Understanding the long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 on human health is one of the great scientific challenges of our time,” said the lead Principal Investigator of the adult cohort, Alexander W. Charney, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Neuroscience, and Neurosurgery at Icahn Mount Sinai.

Along with co-Principal Investigator Girish N. Nadkarni, MD, Chief of the Division of Data-Driven and Digital Medicine, Dr. Charney co-directs the Mount Sinai Clinical Intelligence Center (MSCIC), which was formed amid the height of the pandemic to address the unprecedented threat of COVID-19 and led Mount Sinai’s bid to join the RECOVER Initiative. MSCIC spans departments across the entire Health System to include expertise in health care delivery, data science, clinical research, genomics, biomedical and digital engineering, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. The Center collaborates closely with groups such as the Precicion Immunology Institute at Icahn Mount Sinai, led by its Director Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, and the Scientific Computing group, led by Patricia Kovatch, Dean for Scientific Computing and Data at Icahn Mount Sinai, both co-principal investigators for RECOVER.

“We are honored to be the New York City recruitment hub for RECOVER,” Dr. Charney added. “We will work tirelessly to ensure our wonderfully diverse community is represented in this nationwide effort, in particular those under-served populations that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Recruitment for the adult cohort will build on efforts of the Mount Sinai Health System Post-COVID-19 Registry, which assesses the long-term outcomes of COVID-19 patients. “What we have learned from recruiting almost 1,500 patients into our registry will be key for ensuring the success of the RECOVER Initiative at Mount Sinai,” said co-principal investigator Juan Wisnivesky, MD, DrPH, the Drs. Richard and Mortimer Bader Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine. “The combined information from the Mount Sinai Registry and the RECOVER study will provide a comprehensive characterization of the long-term effects of COVID-19.”

Mount Sinai will also be a hub site for a tissue pathology cohort that examines the molecular profiling of COVID-19 autopsies, led by principal investigator Carlos Cordon-Cardo, MD, PhD, Irene Heinz Given and John LaPorte Given Professor and Chair of Pathology, Molecular and Cell-Based Medicine. Under the leadership of the late Mary Fowkes, MD, PhD, Mount Sinai conducted one of the first COVID-19 autopsies in New York State in March 2020, which revealed how the virus spreads throughout the body and altered management of COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai and globally. The tissue pathology cohort for the RECOVER Initiative will specifically evaluate the tissues and organs of long-term symptoms in people who succumbed to COVID-19 to elucidate pathophysiologic alterations—including changes in respiratory, neurological, neuropsychiatric, and inflammation-mediated multi-organ failure states. Mount Sinai researchers have committed to at least 50 autopsies per year with a capacity to increase cases.

“Postmortem examinations are a reliable benchmark for clarifying the underlying pathophysiology of diseases,” said Dr. Cordon-Cardo. “Since the onset of the pandemic, our multidisciplinary team at Mount Sinai has performed more than 150 COVID-19 autopsies to recover high-quality tissues for examination, and we look forward to expanding our work to enhance the collaborative efforts of the RECOVER Initiative.”

The RECOVER Initiative was launched earlier this year to discover why some people have long COVID, or develop new or returning symptoms after the acute phase of infection. The most common symptoms include pain, headaches, fatigue, “brain fog,” shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, fever, chronic cough, and sleep problems. The NIH awards support both new studies of COVID-19 survivors and expansion of existing and ongoing, large cohort studies. The overall RECOVER Cohort will comprise the combined population of research participants from the new and existing cohorts, which is being called a meta-cohort. Mount Sinai is beginning enrollment of study participants for the adult cohort in December.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

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