Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): NIEHS Support for Understanding the Impact of Environmental Exposures on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

NIEHS is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to address the urgent need for mission-relevant research to understand the impact of environmental exposures on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its causative agent, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2). NIEHS is particularly interested in applications that will provide insight into the role of environmental exposures in pathogenicity, transmission, individual susceptibility, or prevention and intervention strategies.

Application Due Dates for all programs: May 1, 2020; June 1, 2020; July 1, 2020; August 3, 2020; September 1, 2020; October 1, 2020; November 2, 2020; December 1, 2020; January 4, 2021; February 1, 2021; March 1, 2021; April 1, 2021; May 3, 2021, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. This NOSI expires May 4, 2021.

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

NIEHS seeks to promote rapid understanding of the potential contributions of current and past exposure to environmental agents that may exacerbate COVID-19 susceptibility, disease severity, and progression. Examples of environmental exposures relevant to the NIEHS mission include: toxic chemicals, air pollutants, second hand tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapors, metals, and other environmental chemical exposures that may impact health outcomes. In addition, some health outcomes that are linked to environmental exposures (asthma, diabetes, and other pulmonary, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases) are also risk factors for COVID-19. NIEHS is accepting applications addressing COVID-19 through the urgent competitive revision, and time-sensitive mechanisms (see Application Information below).

Possible research interests include but are not limited to the following:

  • Examine the role of environmental exposures in impacting individual susceptibility to SARS-Cov-2 infection, or the development and severity of COVID-19 disease.
  • Investigate the role of lifestyle factors (e.g. diet, physical activity) as modifiers of the effects of environmental exposures on the development or severity of COVID-19 disease.
  • Leverage existing biological samples or data from human or animal research studies to test hypotheses examining the impact of environmental exposures on susceptibility to SARS-Cov-2 infection and COVID-19 disease severity or progression (e.g. detection of SARS-Cov-2 infection in an existing environmental epidemiology study).
  • Utilize previously developed research tools or technology platforms that can be applied to understand how environmental exposures impact COVID-19 spread, or disease progression and severity (e.g. personal exposure monitoring, geospatial mapping, risk modeling tools, biomarkers to detect infection).
  • Apply multi-omics approaches that can accelerate identification of biomarkers/metabolic signatures of infection or disease progression using animal models as well as in study participants of existing environmental health studies.
  • Understand the role of exposure-induced perturbations in respiratory microbiome and its contributions to COVID-19 susceptibility and disease progression.
  • Assess the impact of COVID-19-related interventions (including social or physical distancing or public health messaging) on changes in the spread of COVID-19 as well as environmental exposures and related human health outcomes.
  • Determine the potential health effects of increased personal/community use of disinfection products for COVID-19 control.
  • Develop or apply educational, community-based, or other public health strategies that address the intersection between environmental exposures and COVID-19.
  • Identify climate or weather-related factors that influence population susceptibility to SARS-Cov-2 infection and COVID-19 disease.
  • Examine the potential impact of environmental health disparities on the spread of COVID-19 disease.

Amount Description


    Funding Type





    Curriculum Development
    Environmental & Life Sciences
    Medical - Basic Science
    Medical - Clinical Science
    Medical - Translational

    External Deadline

    May 3, 2021