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Healthy volunteers needed for AFRL COVID-19 testing solutions research

Air Force Research Laboratory team member Joshua Trice collects a saliva sample from a teammate during a dry-run preparation on July 22, 2020, for an upcoming research study. For this study, led by the 711th Human Performance Wing, researchers will collect samples from healthy Wright-Patterson AFB military, civilian, and contractor volunteers to evaluate emerging testing methodologies for detecting past and present COVID-19 infections. (U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge)

Air Force Research Laboratory team member Joshua Trice collects a saliva sample from a teammate during a dry-run preparation on July 22, 2020, for an upcoming research study. For this study, led by the 711th Human Performance Wing, researchers will collect samples from healthy Wright-Patterson AFB military, civilian, and contractor volunteers to evaluate emerging testing methodologies for detecting past and present COVID-19 infections. (U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge)

Researchers from the Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing will collect samples from healthy Wright-Patterson AFB military, civilian, and contractor volunteers for a new research study evaluating emerging testing methodologies for detecting past and present COVID-19 infections. (U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge)

Researchers from the Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing will collect samples from healthy Wright-Patterson AFB military, civilian, and contractor volunteers for a new research study evaluating emerging testing methodologies for detecting past and present COVID-19 infections. (U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – From July to September 2020, Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing researchers will launch sample collection for a new research 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.

As Wright-Patterson AFB returns to full capacity, employees can assist in the development of COVID-19 testing solutions.

Those interested in enrolling in the study should contact 711HPW.RH.COVID-19TestingResea@us.af.mil. For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section below. Base COVID-19 updates for Wright-Patterson are located at https://www.wpafb.af.mil/corona/.

Frequently Asked Questions for COVID-19 S&T Testing Solutions Study

  • How do I enroll?             
    • Please contact 711HPW.RH.COVID-19TestingResea@us.af.mil to enroll.
  • If I had symptoms but did not see a doctor, do I qualify for the antibody testing portion of the study?   
    • Yes, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria.
  • What kind of samples will I have to give?             
    • Blood and/or saliva.
  • What safety precautions will be observed by research staff?
    • Research team members will adhere to the CDC guidelines for infection control.
  • How will my data be protected?
    • All samples and data will be de-identified.
  • What if I only want to donate to part, not all, of the study?
    • We encourage you to provide a one-time blood sample in this case. A research team member may reach out to you if you are willing to provide additional samples but cannot commit to eight consecutive weeks.
  • Can contractors donate, or only military and civilian employees?              
    • Yes, as long as they meet the additional eligibility criteria.
  • If I’m a spouse of a base employee, can I participate?     
    • No. Participation is limited to employees of WPAFB.
  • What if I change my mind during the study?       
    • You may withdraw from the study at any time.
  • Where can I find more information on the NIH study?    
    • Visit ClinicalTrials.gov using identifier NCT04334954 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04334954)         
  • If I still have questions, who can I contact?