Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): NIA Availability of Administrative Supplements and Revision Supplements on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

NIA is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to highlight the urgent need for research on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The mission of NIA is to support and conduct genetic, biological, clinical, behavioral, social, and economic research on aging. This NOSI supports mission critical areas of research for NIA as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Coronaviruses are a diverse family of viruses that cause a range of disease in humans and animals, and there are currently no approved coronavirus vaccines or therapeutics. In January 2020, a novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, was identified as the causative agent of an outbreak of viral pneumonia centered around Wuhan, China. Current information regarding confirmed cases is changing daily and can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and through other sources such as the NIH website. Transmission characteristics and the associated morbidity and mortality are not completely understood, but there is clear evidence of human-to-human transmission. Many other aspects of viral pathogenesis, natural history, and host range are poorly understood. Given this, there is an urgent public health need to better understand the 2019-nCoV, particularly to improve prevention of disease transmission among older adults and mitigation of disease severity and mortality in older adults with COVID-19.

Research Objectives

In order to rapidly improve our understanding and available control measures for 2019-nCoV, NIA is encouraging the submission of applications for either Administrative Supplements (PA-18-591) or Competitive Revisions (PA-18-935) to active grants to address the following research areas of interest:

Research interests include but are not limited to:?

Division of Aging Biology (DAB) Research Interests:

  • Studies of the role of inflammation and immunesenescence in older populations with increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent progression to more severe disease, including lung pathology and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
  • Development of aged animal models (including non-human primates) or in vitro models suitable for studies on pathogenesis of the virus and/or pre-clinical testing of therapeutics and vaccines against SARS-Cov-2.
  • Studies of how cellular and molecular mechanisms identified as pillars of aging impact the treatment, recovery, and repair of tissue and organ systems in older individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2. Studies of the identification of predictive biomarkers derived from clinical specimens and data collected from patients are also encouraged.
  • Studies of how host factors, including existing co-morbidities such as respiratory, cardiac, and other conditions, predispose older individuals to acquire SARS-CoV-2 infections and/or develop more severe COVID-19 disease, such as ARDS.

Division of Neuroscience (DN) Research Interests:

  • Studies of neurological and neurocognitive symptoms in COVID-19 and sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection related to the development or aggravation of such symptoms in older adults, e.g., delirium or early alterations in sensory function; studies of the susceptibility of people with Alzheimer's disease or Alzheimer's disease-related dementias (AD/ADRD) to COVID-19.
  • Studies of mechanisms of underlying SARS-CoV-2 neurological symptoms and pathology in older adults with COVID-19; research on the role of brain barriers in preventing SARS-CoV-2 from gaining access to the neural tissues and mechanisms through which SARS-CoV 2 compromises such barriers and propagates in the central nervous system (CNS); neuropathological studies of COVID-19 and the contribution of brain tissue damage by SARS-CoV-2 to the morbidity and mortality in COVID-19 in older adults.
  • Studies aimed at discovery and development of novel drugs, as well as repurposing and repositioning existing drugs, for preventing and treating COVID-19, particularly drugs that are specific for COVID-19 related CNS targets and CNS mechanisms related to or driving the viral-mediated pathophysiology; studies on blood-brain-barrier penetrant drugs to treat potential SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in the CNS.
  • Development of computational and informatics methods, e.g., machine learning or artificial intelligence integrating with emerging multi-modal data for COVID-19 diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG) Research Interests:

  • Relationships of individual factors, including co-existing conditions and medications, to resilient or adverse outcomes to SARS-CoV-2 exposure in older adults and comparisons with younger adults.
  • Evaluation of pharmacological or health care delivery intervention strategies in older adults after exposure to SARS-CoV-2 to prevent or mitigate morbidity and/or improve post-infection health and function.
  • Studies in pre-hospital, emergency, or critical care settings to improve screening, risk stratification, care delivery decisions, resource allocation, and clinical outcomes for older adults exposed to SARS-CoV-2.
  • Evaluation of strategies to minimize spread of COVID-19 among older adults and their care providers, particularly within facilities housing older adults, including telemedicine and remote medicine strategies.

Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR) Research Interests:

  • Leveraging longitudinal studies to elucidate how COVID-19-related changes in the social, economic, institutional, and policy environments differentially impact the health and welfare of people across the life course and in vulnerable social groups; comparative studies of regional and national approaches are encouraged.
  • Studies of prevention practices (hand washing, effectively covering a cough, social distancing, etc.) and factors that influence adherence, including individual and age differences and social network effects.
  • Studies of how social distancing requirements impact the care and well-being of vulnerable older adult populations, including individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and AD/ADRD.
  • Evaluating strategies used by health systems to reallocate resources, rapidly train practitioners, communicate preventative practices, and maintain adherence to public health and clinical guidelines, with a particular interest in those that serve high-risk groups (e.g. nursing homes) and resulting racial, ethnic, or regional disparities in access/care.

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