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Billionaire-backed group steps up hunt for Long Covid treatment


A group of top researchers, clinicians and patients have stepped up efforts to combat Long Covid, launching a new billionaire-backed initiative to search for drivers of the poorly understood condition and ultimately find treatments to help the millions of people around the world living with the disease.

The Long Covid Research Initiative (LCRI) hopes to accelerate efforts to understand and treat Long Covid, a sometimes disabling condition that lingers for months or years after infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The group’s first goal—supported by $15 million dollars in funding from Balvi, a scientific investment fund led by crypto billionaire and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin—will be to investigate the causes Long Covid, with a particular focus on whether the virus stubbornly persists in the body after initial infection.

Dr. Amy Proal, a microbiologist at the PolyBio Research Foundation and LCRI’s chief scientific officer, told Forbes the research is not just geared towards identifying the presence of the virus in the body but is also aimed at understanding the downstream impact it has on things like blood clotting and the immune system.

Proal said another key aim of LCRI’s research program is to identify measurable features of Long Covid that could form the backbone of clinical trials and help develop much-needed treatments for the condition.

LCRI has already secured a commitment for further funding from the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, led by biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong (the final amount has yet to be settled), and Scott-Green said the group is aiming to raise $100 million in order to help patients as soon as possible.

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Source: Forbes, 8 September 2022

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