A new study is working to understand what the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission is among people with the Moderna vaccine. Dr. Elizabeth Connick and Dr. Lori Fantry from the University of Arizona Department of Medicine are the researchers conducting the study.
The study was started earlier this year and was originally a randomized controlled trial. People were randomly chosen to either receive the Moderna vaccine immediately or in four months.
Once the vaccine came out, they decided to change the structure of the trial. It became an observational study where anyone between the ages of 18-29 who is not vaccinated or had COVID-19 before can participate. The researchers are recruiting people who don’t want to be vaccinated as well as people who do want to be vaccinated.
The study consists of participants using nasal swabs everyday which are then sent to the lab where it is tested for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR, which is one type of test used to detect the virus.
“This way we will be able to identify both asymptomatic infections as well as measure how much virus is being shed,” Connick explained.
Anyone who completes the whole study will be compensated for coming to the visits, getting blood drawn and each nasal swab, which comes out to around $1,000. The study is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The study is being conducted all over the United States and there are more than 50 sites.
“Right now, we are one of the top enrolling sites and I think it is really important for Arizona to be on the map and for us to contribute to understanding this problem and hopefully this will lead to better solutions,” Connick said.
Fantry explained that a surprising part of the study has been that a few individuals who have been vaccinated have been infected.
“I guess it is parallel with what we are learning about the Delta variant, which is a little bit surprising, and we were hoping that it would be less people,” Fantry said.
Fantry further explained that not all of the details from the study are out, so she doesn’t know what the exact percentages are.
According to the COVID-19 Prevention Network, the study is working to build off of previous clinical trials which tested the ability of vaccines to prevent symptomatic and severe COVID-19 cases.
The article also discussed that large numbers of COVID-19 infections have been reported across college campuses. A nationwide survey found that almost 260,000 infections were detected at more than 1,900 colleges since Jan. 1, 2021.
“I think this is really an opportunity to be a part of the solution and this research is going to have a major impact, it will have a major impact on public health messages, and it is particularly important now with the Delta Variant,” Connick said.
If you are interested in being a part of the study, research personnel are located on the third floor of the Student Union Memorial Center in room 333, or you can contact them at 520-621-8349.
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