UofL COVID study producing hope of beating virus

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:59 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 12:51 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Ahead of rising cases and stark warnings, new information is emerging from a University of Louisville COVID-19 study aimed at helping to rid the virus locally.

Over the past year, the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute at the University of Louisville has compiled information that has been used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations to determine how long antibodies last and how COVID spreads. The COVID Co-Immunity Study is aimed at tracking how the virus is changing people individually and as neighbors.

“We look at prevalence, the way the infection course runs in people,” a research and assistant professor of medicine at UofL, Dr. Rachel Keith, said. “If we spread it out too long, it’s not going to be a very good snapshot.”

Each round is run five to six days.

Terry Pyles is one of 3,500 participants in the last round of the COVID Co-Immunity Study, which has been in progress since May of last year.

“I was very interested in getting my COVID-19 antibodies,” Pyles said. “I wanted to see how many I have from the two vaccinations of Moderna, that I received back in February.”

For Pyles, she said the process of contributing to the study was easy.

”She swabbed my nose, then they sent me on to the next tent, and then another nurse came out and stuck my finger,” she said.

As time has gone by, Keith said the study is yielding helpful results with the help of participants.

“Typically, there are hot spots each round where we see more infection,” Keith said.

She said when researchers can pinpoint hot spots, they are then able to send resources like testing to the areas of Jefferson County in need through a partnership with Metro Public Health.

Now that more people are getting the vaccine, researchers are working to find out how long antibodies stick around for those who get infected and for those who have been vaccinated.

“And to look at natural versus antibodies and watch the back in to see if people’s antibodies change and if you can still neutralize virus,” Keith said.

To learn more about the COVID CO-Immunity Study, click here.

To get on the list to join the study, click here.

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