Has one of your family members been diagnosed with COVID-19? This study may be for you.

Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse is launching a new three-month study to learn more about the transmission of and immunity to the virus. Researchers will be monitoring family members or people who live with Central New York residents who have either tested for or were treated for coronavirus at Upstate.

While participants will not be compensated for their time, they will learn more about their tests throughout the study and will help further knowledge about the transmission of the virus.

“People want to be doing something to help,” Principal Investigator Katie Anderson said in a press release from the hospital. “We’re three months into what has been a really difficult spring and early summer and to be engaged in something that is helping and can really address some important questions about COVID, I think really feels good. I’m hoping that participants and their families will feel the same way.”

Upstate will start contacting potential participants for the study this week, with hopes of enrolling people from 400 to 600 households, including many participants from minority communities. Even if someone in a household tested negative for the virus, family members from that household may still be asked to participate in order to learn more about the spread.

“We think less than 5 percent of our community has been exposed to COVID but those negative controls will help us understand that,” Anderson said. “And we’re looking to preferentially enroll minorities or African-Americans because unfortunately, and in a way we don’t understand, they may have been disproportionally affected by disease so we’re trying to dive into those questions.”

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The press release noted that those with a confirmed COVID case in the household will undergo "a four-week period of enhanced surveillance, including daily diaries to record symptoms [and] home monitoring of oxygen saturation, heart rate and temperature[, as well as] weekly saliva specimens [that] will allow detection of asymptomatic infections."

The COVID-19 Surveillance Research Study was funded through a $279,770 grant from The State University of New York and is a joint project between Upstate University Hospital and The RNA Institute at SUNY Albany.


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