IUPUI, state health department to conduct third phase of COVID-19 study

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Posted at 8:32 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 20:32:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Statewide testing for the third phase of a collaborative COVID-19 study is set to begin next week.

The study is a collaborative effort between the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health.

Participants in the third phase of the study will include individuals age 5 and older who were randomly selected. Those selected received a text message, phone call and a postcard notifying them of their selection and encouraging them to schedule testing at a designated walk-up testing site.

According to IUPUI, this is the first time the study has included children.

"The addition of younger children will establish the first known prevalence rate of COVID-19 in school-age children," State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said. "This will expand our knowledge of COVID-19 in Indiana and contribute valuable information to schools and communities as they make important decisions about youth-focused activities."

Participants in the study will be tested regardless of symptoms. Those participants age 12 and older will be asked to provide both a nasal swab and a blood sample. Children between ages 5 and 11 will only be tested with a nasal swab.

According to the university, the nasal swabs will be tested for active viral infection while the blood samples will be tested for antibodies that indicate previous infection. Individual test results are confidential and will be available to participants on a secure website or via text, phone call or email once complete.

"Results from the first two phases of testing have assisted Indiana in making prudent decisions and have simultaneously generated much new knowledge about the disease that the CDC frequently quotes," Nir Menachemi, the principal investigator on the study and professor and Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Fairbanks School of Public Health, said. "This third phase of testing will continue to help our state leadership make important, complex decisions necessary to protect all Hoosiers."

Testing for the third phase will occur Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 with 30 testing sites available for the main phase of the study and six supplemental sites planned for Oct. 4 and 5. Testing will occur in Allen, Cass, Delaware, Elkhart, Franklin, Gibson, Grant, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Howard, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, Lake, LaPorte, Lawrence, Marion, Monroe, Owen, Perry, Scott, Switzerland, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Wayne and Wells counties.

The fourth and final phase of the study is planned for April 2021.