COVID-19 Timeline at NIH (January-February 2023)
COVID-19 Research and Activities at NIH
January 3: An NIH-supported study of children and adolescents who received a COVID-19 vaccination after multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) finds that there were no reports of serious complications including myocarditis or MIS-C reoccurrence (JAMA Netw Open 6:e2248987, 2023).
January 4: A NIAID-led study finds that males who recovered from mild COVID-19 mounted a stronger immune response to the flu vaccine compared with those never exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection can alter future immune responses (Nature 614:752–761, 2023).
January 5: NIH launches the Home Test to Treat program in partnership with local public health departments, which will provide virtual, free, COVID-19 health services—at-home rapid tests, telehealth sessions, and at-home treatments—in selected communities.
January 6: The CDC updates its COVID-19 community levels. Framingham, Massachusetts, and Research Triangle Park in Durham County, North Carolina, move from medium to high community level. Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, moves from medium to low. All other NIH locations remain at medium.
January 9: NIH awards eight research grants to refine new technologies for early diagnosis of severe illnesses resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection in children.
January 10: Former NIAID Director Anthony Fauci delivers a Demystifying Medicine lecture about lessons learned from COVID-19 and future pandemic preparedness and response.
January 11: Leading NIAID researchers author a perspective on next-generation vaccines for respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus that replicate in the nasal mucosa (Cell Host Microbe 31:146-157, 2023).
January 13: The CDC updates its COVID-19 community levels. Frederick, Maryland, moves from low to medium community level. Phoenix moves from medium to low, and Framingham, Massachusetts, moves from high to medium. All other NIH locations remain at their current levels.
January 13: Lawrence Tabak (Performing the Duties of the NIH Director) emails staff with a coronavirus update and reports that the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to increase nationally due to the combination of colder weather, indoor gatherings, and the circulating XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant. Tabak highlights NIH-supported research released on January 3 showing that there were no reports of serious complications after COVID-19 vaccination in children and adolescents with prior multisystem inflammatory syndrome. He calls attention to the Home Test to Treat pilot program launched on January 5 that will provide participants with free COVID-19 health services.
January 20: The CDC updates its COVID-19 community levels. Frederick, Maryland, moves from medium to low community level. Research Triangle Park in Durham County, North Carolina, moves from high to medium. All other NIH locations remain at their current levels.
January 26: The FDA announces that the monoclonal antibody Evusheld is no longer authorized for use in the United States because the treatment is not expected to be active against more than 90% of the currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
January 26: An FDA advisory panel votes to offer just one type of COVID-19 shot for both the primary and booster doses based on the same virus variants. The panel also agrees with the FDA’s proposal to shift to annual, fall COVID-19 boosters for most of the United States population.
January 27: The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) meets virtually to discuss the draft report of the NSABB Working Groups to Review and Evaluate the United States Government Potential Pandemic Pathogen Care and Oversight and Dual Use Research of Concern Policies.
January 27: The CDC updates its COVID-19 community levels. NIH main campus in Montgomery County, Maryland, and Detroit, Michigan, move from medium to low. All other NIH locations remain at their current levels.
January 30: The Biden Administration announces that it plans to end the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies on May 11, 2023.
January 31: The NIH Clinical Center announces that staff no longer need to make arrangements ahead of time for visitors, individuals, or small groups to enter.
February 2: NIH leaders and partner organizations outline NIH’s COVID-19 research response in a policy forum published in the journal Science. The authors reflect on crucial lessons learned that will inform the public health research response to future pandemics (Science, 379:441-444, 2023).
February 8: Lawrence Tabak (Performing the Duties of the NIH Director) testifies along with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and FDA Commissioner Rob Califf at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the federal response to COVID-19.
February 9: The Biden administration rolls out a roadmap on how ending the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11 will affect the country and stakeholders such as state health departments and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
February 10: Lawrence Tabak (Performing the Duties of the NIH Director) emails staff with a Coronavirus Update detailing pandemic response wind-down efforts. This week he ended the regularly scheduled meetings of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Team and other associated meetings, which had been convened early in the pandemic. On March 8, the NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison will sunset the NIH Guidance for Staff on Coronavirus intranet page—three years to the day it was launched. Tabak’s email is the 137th coronavirus update and will be the last regularly scheduled all-staff email about pandemic response at NIH.
February 10: The CDC updates its COVID-19 community levels. Baltimore (Bayview Research Center), moves from medium to low community level. All other NIH locations remain at their current levels.
February 14: About half of adults treated at hospitals for COVID-19 have experienced lingering symptoms, financial difficulties, or physical limitations months after being discharged, according to an NIH-supported study (JAMA Netw 6:e2255795,2023; DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.55795).
February 15: NIH initiates a multisite clinical trial evaluating an investigational antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19. The therapeutic, known as ensitrelvir fumaric acid, was discovered by scientists in Japan and is the first agent to be evaluated in a new global, adaptive clinical research protocol known as Strategies and Treatments for Respiratory Infections & Viral Emergencies.
February 16: Two different studies funded by NIH’s Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery Initiative find that Black and Hispanic Americans appear to experience more symptoms and health problems related to long COVID than white people, but are not as likely to be diagnosed with the condition(BMC Medicine 21:article number 58, 2023; J Gen Intern Med 2023; DOI:10.1007/s11606-022-07997-1).
February 17: The CDC updates its COVID-19 community levels. Rocky Mountain Laboratories (Hamilton, Montana) moves from low to medium community level. All other NIH locations remain at their current levels.
February 17: The NIH Clinical Center ends its policy of issuing stickers to visitors after being screened for COVID-19 at building entrances.
February 24: The CDC updates its COVID-19 community levels. Research Triangle Park in Durham County, North Carolina, and Framingham, Massachusetts, move from medium to low community level. NIDDK in Phoenix moves from low to medium. All other NIH locations remain at their current levels.
February 24: Moderna honors its December 2022 agreement to compensate the NIH for developing a chemical technique used in Moderna’s development of its COVID-19 vaccine.
February 26: A United States Department of Energy report concludes with “low confidence” that it is plausible the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a laboratory leak in China. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “The new report highlights how different parts of the intelligence community have arrived at disparate judgments about the pandemic’s origin. The Energy Department now joins the Federal Bureau of Investigation in saying the virus likely spread via a mishap at a Chinese laboratory. Four other agencies, along with a national intelligence panel, still judge that it was likely the result of a natural transmission, and two are undecided. The FBI previously came to the conclusion that the pandemic was likely the result of a lab leak in 2021 with ‘moderate confidence’ and still holds to this view.”
February 27: Former NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells the Boston Globe that we must all keep an open mind to all possibilities about the origins of the coronavirus. “I don’t see any data for a lab leak. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened,” he said.
February 27: National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby tells reporters at a White House Press Briefing that the United States government still has not reached a consensus on how the coronavirus pandemic started.
This page was last updated on Thursday, March 16, 2023