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Phase 3 of COVID study set to begin

(photo courtesy of Liz Kaye, Indiana University)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) – The Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health will Tuesday begin statewide testing for the third phase of a COVID-19 study. The four-phase study, first announced in April, is designed to measure the spread of the disease and the virus that causes it throughout the state.

The university says three participants in the third phase of the study will include people who are 5-years-old and above. It will be the first time the study has included children.

The nasal swabs will be tested for active viral infection, and blood samples will be tested for antibodies that indicate the previous infection. Participants will be tested regardless of symptoms.

“The addition of younger children will establish the first known prevalence rate of COVID-19 in school-age children,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. “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.”

The partners say random-sample testing is a scientific approach that allows researchers to more accurately assess how the coronavirus has spread in Indiana without having to test everyone.

“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,” said Nir Menachemi, the Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Fairbanks School of Public Health and principal investigator on the study. “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 of the study will end 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 initial results of the study revealed nearly half of all Hoosiers who tested positive for COVID-19 showed no signs of the disease. The study’s second phase showed fewer active infections and a greater number of people testing positive for antibodies.