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The United States has announced that it will spend big on research into ‘long COVID’ — the long-lasting health effects of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The funding comes as the scientific community is just starting to recognize the impact of the condition and unravel why it occurs. On 23 February, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced an initiative worth US$1.15 billion over four years to fund investigations of the condition, and listed some first priorities.