LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as another surge of cases is taking place in Kentucky, and researchers at the University of Kentucky are conducting a national study of younger adults to answer more questions about it.
PreventCovidU has several questions: How is COVID spreading among vaccinated and unvaccinated people? And while the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing illness, vaccinated people can still develop asymptomatic infections, so can those people unknowingly spread the virus?
The research team hopes the study’s results will inform science-based decisions about mask use and social distancing after vaccination, especially as new variants spread and emerge, like the Delta Variant.
UK seeks adults between 18 and 29 who want to get vaccinated and those who don’t want to get vaccinated to participate in this paid study.
Participants are compensated for completing at-home nose swabs and a few blood draws in UK’s clinic over a five-month period. To be eligible, participants must not have had COVID-19 or a COVID-19 vaccine in the past. Approximately 150 local volunteers and 12,000 nationally will be enrolled in the trial.
The PreventCovidU study utilizes daily nose swabs to measure virus load in the noses of vaccinated people and also invites “close contacts” of those people to be tested as well. Daily testing is key to understanding the stealthy nature of COVID-19. Studies suggest a person is most infectious for only a few days, often before the onset, if ever, of any COVID-19 symptoms. Roughly half of infections remain asymptomatic.
At UK, one of the leaders in the PreventCovidU study is Dr. Richard Greenberg, who brings four decades of vaccine development experience and is also leading trials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at UK, which was the world’s top-enrolling site for the company’s Phase 3 single-dose trial.
“With PreventCovidU, the University of Kentucky adds to its already extensive clinical research effort to end this pandemic. It shows the nation, not only by the efforts of its academic leaders but also by the resolve of its students and community, that UK cares,” Greenberg said. “We’re thankful for everyone who chooses to participate in this historic effort; they become part of our family.”
More information is available at StopCOVIDKy.com, where you can take an eligibility survey for the UK study site.