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TGen To Study Long COVID-19 In Youths As Part Of $470 Million NIH Project

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Monday, September 20, 2021 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, September 20, 2021 - 9:25am

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TGen
Matt Huentelman leads TGen’s Neurobehavioral Research Unit and MindCrowd project.

Many questions remain about long COVID-19 — especially in young people, who now make up around 30% of new COVID-19 cases.

Phoenix-based TGen will try to answer some of them as part of a $470 million National Institutes of Health study.

The interdisciplinary team participating in NIH's RECOVER (REsearching COVID to Enhance Recovery) initiative also includes Rhode Island's Hasbro Children's Hospital, NYU Langone Health, Virginia Commonwealth University and Northeastern University, all of whom will study the impacts of long COVID-19.

TGen's portion of the NIH project, called LEGACI (Life-course Examination of Genomics, Affect and neurocognitive Changes following COVID-19 Infection), will use smartphone apps, wearable devices and mobile laboratories to study long COVID-19 in infants, children and adults under 26.

Matt Huentelman, who lead's TGen's Neurobehavioral Research Unit, said he hopes the labs will help people from underrepresented groups join in the research.

"So if we can bring the laboratory to them, we hope to increase those numbers and really expand the groups that we typically study," Huentelman said.

LEGACI also will use MindCrowd, TGen's internet-based cohort of more than 160,000 volunteers who participate in memory and cognitive tests. Some MindCrowd data dates back eight years, which offers certain advantages.

"We might even have data that they contributed before COVID even happened. So we can start to compare how their brain performance might change across age, because we have this baseline data before COVID was in the world," said Huentelman, who leads the MindCrowd project.

Families with children affected by COVID-19 who are interested in participating can learn more at www.legacistudy.org.

Coronavirus Science