Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): NIDCR Support for Research on the Physiological Involvement of Oral Cavity in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

January 26, 2021

First Available Due Date:
June 05, 2021
Expiration Date:
May 08, 2023

Related Announcements

PA-20-185 - NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-195 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

Issued by

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)



The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to encourage research studies focused on the physiological involvement of oral cavity and oral manifestations related to SARS-CoV-2 and/or Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Globally, the death toll for COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has surpassed 1.9 million, and in the United States, more than 375,000 individuals have succumbed to the disease as of January 2021. Synergizing with a myriad of initiatives across NIH and responding to a palpable sense of public health urgency, NIDCR is positioned to address COVID-19 research knowledge gaps unique to our mission, as well as to facilitate broad and rapid dissemination of research findings. Outcomes from this NOSI are expected to strengthen the knowledge base of COVID-19 disease mechanisms and presentations in the oral cavity.

Research Objectives

The oral/nasal route serves as the SARS-CoV-2 point of entry into the host thus playing a pivotal role in viral spread and COVID-19 onset and progression. As such, limiting viral infectivity, replication, shedding, and load at the point of entry is crucial to containing COVID-19 progression, as well as transmission to others. This NOSI will support studies focused on the role of oral/nasal cavity and oral manifestations related to SARS-CoV-2 and/or COVID-19 within the NIDCR mission. The areas of interest include:

  • Investigation of the biological underpinnings of SARS-CoV-2 infection, transmission, and progression in the oral cavity, including the microbiota oral-gut axis and its dysbiosis; effects of ACE2 expression distribution and function at oral/nasal SARS-CoV-2 point of entry; salivary glands as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2; oral mucosal immunity, and differential interactions of SARS-CoV-2 mutants/variants with oral/nasal cells.
  • Investigation of the physiological mechanisms of oral manifestations of COVID-19, including salivary gland dysfunction in SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility; SARS-CoV-2 related causes of taste dysfunction; oral lesions; and changes in vascularization.
  • Establishment of predictive value and prognostic potential of oral manifestations of the severity of COVID-19 and post-acute sequalae of COVID-19.
  • Definition of the interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and oral/nasal microbiota and potential therapeutic roles of pre/probiotics and other exogenous modulators of these viral-bacterial interactions, as well as blockers of viral-receptor interactions that may limit infectivity of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Development of tools and technologies to facilitate studies in the focus areas of this initiative, including animal models, ex vivo models including oral/nasal tissue chip platforms, and computational modeling of virus-receptor interactions, among others.

Projects that overlap with or will result in incremental knowledge gained from existing investments in COVID-19 research by NIDCR or NIH initiatives such as the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx), are discouraged. Clinical observations and other descriptive studies without mechanistic analyses will be considered non-responsive.

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Program Official to discuss responsiveness and appropriate mechanism before submission.


Application and Submission Information

This notice applies to due dates on or after June 5, 2021 and subsequent receipt dates through May 8, 2023.

Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcement through the expiration date of this notice.

  • PA-20-185, NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-20-195, NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:

  • For funding consideration, applicants must include “NOT-DE-21-001” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.

Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.


Please direct all inquiries to the contacts in Section VII of the listed funding opportunity announcements with the following additions/substitutions:

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Amanda Melillo, Ph.D.
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Telephone: 301-529-7217

Peer Review Contact(s)

Examine your eRA Commons account for review assignment and contact information (information appears two weeks after the submission due date).

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s

Diana Rutberg, MBA

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

Telephone: 301-594-4798


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