Spotlight

Supporting Research on Alcohol and
COVID-19

Illustration of COVID-19.

In response to the urgent need for research on how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many aspects of health, NIAAA has issued a funding opportunity to encourage research on the complex relationships between alcohol consumption and COVID-19. In addition to research on behavioral, social, and economic consequences of the pandemic, the Institute is interested in both the study of alcohol as a biological contributor to COVID-19 outcomes and in assessing the impact of the pandemic on alcohol misuse, alcohol use disorder (AUD), and the treatment of AUD. Such studies could provide not only key information on the effects of common biological pathology but also the effects of physical isolation/social isolation of alcohol misuse, AUD, and the treatment of AUD. Such information may also inform the response to future public health emergencies and provide opportunities for interventions in populations with limited access to health care.

NIAAA is also participating in funding opportunities led by other NIH Institutes to support COVID-19 research, and as a result NIAAA is encouraging the integration of alcohol-related research questions into broader areas of study. These areas include stress and mental health, nervous system effects, aging populations, maternal mortality, and health disparities. All funding opportunities related to COVID-19 are listed on the NIAAA website.

Facilitating research on the “downstream” public health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is important for NIAAA. For example, the Institute added a COVID-19 update to the Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). This alcohol policy information can be used by researchers to compare the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on a range of health-related outcomes across states. NIAAA also updated its surveillance report series to include monthly per capita alcohol sales data, where available. These reports will be updated as data from additional states and for subsequent months become available. This information can enable research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s alcohol consumption during the ongoing evolution of the pandemic.