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IU research aims to track asymptomatic COVID-19 cases

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Top health officials are constantly learning new things about COVID-19, and the IU School of Medicine is, too. Researchers are hoping to learn more, by bringing its study to families.

Right now we hear a lot about people with symptoms, but officials said there are quite a few people carrying the virus and feel just fine.

“We are looking to figure out how many people in Marion County are carrying coronavirus,” said Dr. James Wood.

Wood is a pediatric infectious disease at Riley Hospital for Children, but is working on the IU School of Medicine research team working to figure out who are asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers and how they are unknowingly spread the virus.

“Finding vulnerable populations and us being able to go out to them,” said Wood. “For us I think one of the really important things is we wanted to bring research to folks in the community.”

The research will start with a survey. The IU School of Medicine will deliver coronavirus test kits to volunteer diverse family groups around Marion County who’ve never tested positive for coronavirus and aren’t showing symptoms. That means a variety of communities, but also children.

Early data suggests children could carry the virus and have no symptoms.

“The better we can figure out when it’s safe for us to reopen things and give us an idea of what we might expect as we reopen things,” Wood said.

The people who participate will administer the test themselves and the research team will come back to pick them up then send them off for testing.

“We know not everybody has access to transportation not everybody is able to go to a study site so we wanted to be able to bring this,” Wood said. “So it’s really important for them to be able to participate in this clinical research.”

The first round of testing starts Monday and so far the school said it has all the volunteers it needs for this wave of the study.