Despite MaineHealth closing its long COVID clinic in January, the health system’s research arm is receiving national attention for its work on the virus, recently winning a second federal grant to study potential causes.

The MaineHealth Institute for Research in Scarborough will collaborate with research centers in Kentucky and Louisiana to study whether the virus that causes COVID-19 remains hidden in the fat tissue of patients who have long COVID, stressing their immune systems. The work is part of a National Institutes of Health RECOVER study on COVID-19.

Long COVID symptoms include difficulty breathing, brain fog, joint pain and a tight chest and may occur continuously or in spurts after people contract the virus. But the condition is only starting to be understood, and some have reported serious symptoms that make everyday life challenging.

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