Study to Determine COVID-19’s Impacts on First Responders

ResearchLast updated Thursday, June 3, 2021
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As the country moves into its second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, longitudinal data on the impacts to first responders are being studied in many research initiatives.

The study is now underway [] through a partnership between the Center to STOP-COVID, the Columbus Police Department and Columbus Division of Fire in Ohio. Researchers are currently enrolling EMS workers from these participating agencies in the clinical trial which will take 5 years to conduct.

First responders are a unique population because of their risk of exposure and re-exposure on the job. First responders were also among the first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

STOP-COVID researchers are embarking on three projects: surveillance, serological sciences (studying blood serum and the response of the immune system to pathogens) and communication about testing and vaccines.

For the surveillance portion of the study, participating first responders are completing short weekly and monthly surveys gathering information on their health and their experiences with COVID-19. This will help researchers investigate how transmission may be occurring in their households and stations, interactions between exposure risks, immune responses, disease severity, and any barriers encountered to testing or vaccination.

For the clinical part of this study, asymptomatic first responders are being regularly tested for the COVID-19 virus and antibodies using state-of-the-art serological and molecular tests, developed at Ohio State. Once this data is collected, the second part of the study will examine factors linked to immune protection.

The STOP-COVID Center will be integrated with the National Cancer Institute’s Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet) [] and is part of a larger effort consisting of eight national centers and 10 other projects studying different aspects of COVID-19. These centers will develop a framework for sharing data, samples and investigative procedures with each other and, eventually, with outside entities who want to use the work for their own research.

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