By Kathy Chouteau
Want to be part of the solution when it comes to COVID-19? The University of California at Berkeley’s School of Public Health seeks participants for a new study aimed at better understanding the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and the impact of social distancing in the East Bay over time.
For the first part of the study—called the “East Bay COVID-19 Asymptomatic Carriage and Seroprevalence Study”—investigators are inviting one adult (age 18-plus) per household within the areas of Richmond, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, El Sobrante, San Pablo, Pinole and Hercules to participate in an initial evaluation.
Eligible people can participate in the evaluation by completing an online consent form and short screening survey here.
“We are trying very hard to include members of the Richmond community, particularly [people of color],” stated Professor Lisa F. Barcellos, one of the study’s lead investigators, who emphasized that the pandemic has been killing a disproportionate number of people of color.
“The results from this study will help us understand the spread of infection as shelter-in-place measures are lifted and direct health resources to where they are needed most,” she added.
After completing the screening survey, investigators will randomly select and contact up to 6,000 eligible people to proceed with the study. At that point, participants will receive test kits with easy instructions “for at-home swab, saliva and finger-prick blood sample collection” to return to Cal, as well as additional questionnaires, per the study’s investigators.
The aforementioned testing process will repeat up to five times over an eight-to-ten month period.
According to study investigators, the biospecimens will help them “determine if you and others in the study are infected, and if you have been infected previously with the COVID-19 coronavirus, even if you never had any symptoms.”
“This will help us understand factors that make us vulnerable to getting infected and sick with COVID-19. This will also enable us to evaluate the effect of the changes over time in the social strategies to reduce transmission of the virus, like distancing and sheltering in place.”