COVID-19 News

AFRL launches study to evaluate emerging COVID-19 testing methods

From July to September 2020, Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing researchers will launch sample collection for a new study evaluating emerging testing methodologies for detecting past and present COVID-19 infections.

Researchers will collect blood and saliva samples from up to 4,100 volunteers over an eight-week period to estimate prevalence of antibodies and active infection of COVID-19 in the Wright-Patterson workforce population. The findings will provide insight on immediate, scalable testing solutions for maintaining force readiness.

Investigators from the new Airman Bioscience Division within the Human Systems Directorate of the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are leading the study. The 711HPW is part of Air Force Materiel Command and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Wright-Patterson researchers will partner with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda as part of its ongoing Serosurvey study (NCT04334954) along with several industry methods from across the country.

The study aims to: (1) determine if there are SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in participants without confirmed history of exposure to or illness from COVID-19; and (2) evaluate the effectiveness and capacity of emerging industry protocols for detecting COVID-19 infection. Participants may choose to enroll in one or both of the study aims. Enrollment in the first aim of the study requires a blood draw from the arm or finger sticks, and in the second aim requires saliva collection into a small tube.

To participate in the 711HPW study, interested individuals must be 18 years or older and be a military, civilian, or contracted employee at Wright-Patterson AFB. Volunteers must be free from of any COVID-19-like symptoms or other conditions. To provide samples, the individual must have no clinically confirmed history of COVID-19 infection or exposure.

711HPW researchers will consent and enroll eligible individuals over the phone. Upon enrollment, participants select the study aim(s) they want to participate in, as well as submit a health assessment and demographic questionnaire. Blood collection options include an at-home kit or a scheduled in-person draw. At-home blood collection kits include detailed instructions, materials to safely collect a small amount of blood, and return postage to a Wright-Patterson AFB lab. Saliva collections are only performed in-person to ensure consistency. In-person appointments will be conducted by experienced 711HPW staff at an off-base facility.

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