DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A research center at Duke has been put in charge of coordinating data from national studies to better understand long COVID-19.

Duke Health said Tuesday that the university’s clinical research institute was named as the clinical trials data coordinating center for those large-scale studies of long COVID.

The institute will partner with RTI International to speed up the clinical trial process, oversee its infrastructure, build a registry of patients and launch studies for preventing and treating adults and children.

It is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) program. Congress in December 2020 appropriated $1.15 billion in funding over four years to research the prolonged consequences to health of COVID-19 infection.

About 2.5 percent of people who catch COVID report symptoms that last for three months or longer, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Duke Health says more research is needed to better understand long COVID.

“There is a lot we don’t know about long COVID, including how to precisely define it and why some people experience prolonged symptoms while others don’t,” said Dr. Kanecia Zimmerman, the principal investigator of the data coordinating center. “The RECOVER Initiative supports better understanding of the disease characteristics, prevention, and treatment.”

The data coordinating center will line up other COVID research projects, including the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) studies.

“From the onset of the pandemic, the DCRI has been at the forefront of COVID-19 research,” said Adrian Hernandez, M.D., executive director of the DCRI. “We are excited to apply our expertise in leading large-scale research programs to find much needed answers to predict, prevent, and treat long COVID.”