With a weekly nasal swab PCR test and a weekly questionnaire, you can help Blaine County more quickly recognize a new wave of COVID19 infections as well as help reduce community spread.
People with frequent, regular contact with the public through their work are best suited for this study.
There is no cost to participate. You get
Weekly at-home nasal swab self-test and questionnaire
Want to protect your family and community?
Join this study.
Waiting for vaccine availability?
Join this study.
Not planning to get vaccinated?
Join this study.
Contribute to cutting-edge research on the immune response to COVID-19
Who is performing this study?
Principal Investigator: Terry O’Connor, MD Co-Investigator: Tom Archie, MD
All study visits will be conducted by the Blaine COVID STATS research team staff.
Study Title: Blaine County COVID STATS (Study to Test and Track SARS-CoV-2): An Observational Study To Determine SARS-CoV-2 Incidence In Local Communities and to Establish Immune Correlates Of Protection In Healthy Individuals With Higher Risk Of Exposure
Why is this research study being done?
The Blaine COVID STATS study aims to help contain the current COVID-19 pandemic in Blaine County, Idaho by more quickly recognizing a new wave of COVID-19 infections. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 coronavirus. While some individuals infected with the virus respond with no or mild symptoms, others develop respiratory symptoms and pneumonia that require hospitalization and can be deadly. The societal impact of the pandemic can be helped by reducing community spread.
Blaine COVID STATS is a longitudinal, six month, observational study of individuals in Blaine County, Idaho who are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and of infecting others. We have three major goals: (1) public health monitoring for a new wave of COVID-19 infections, (2) research into the use of home sample self-collection for viral detection testing, and (3) research to better understand the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, so as to inform other study of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. In addition, we will evaluate how long someone infected with SARS-CoV-2 is able to spread the virus, and we will attempt to better understand which immune responses are the most protective.
How many people will take part in this study? About 600 people will participate.
How long will I be in this study? Participants may be in the study from 6 to 9 months.
Who is eligible to participate?
Participants should be healthy adults age 18 or older with frequent close contact with other individuals through employment, socializing or living situation. They will need to provide consent, complete weekly online questionnaires, self-collect and mail in their weekly nasal swab samples to the study lab in Seattle (at to no cost to the participant), as well as provide symptom-driven home self-testing more frequently for two weeks, and have blood drawn for lab testing. Those interested in participating will complete a secure online screening questionnaire regarding their health, any current medications, and their current work including assessment of risk factors for exposure to COVID19 infection. If an individual meets the initial eligibility criteria, they will be invited to schedule an online or phone meeting with a member of the study staff to discuss participation.
Can multiple family members participate?
In order to better understand family viral transmission, Blaine COVID STATS hopes to enroll a number of participants from the same household. Only enrolled study participants will be tested at any time.
If someone has already been vaccinated for COVID-19 can they participate?
No. Blaine COVID STATS will enroll people who have not yet been vaccinated.
What happens if someone enrolls in Blaine COVID STATS and then gets vaccinated?
Some who wind up getting vaccinated while already in the study may continue to participate.
We have established collaborations with researchers in the Department of Epidemiology of the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Albany, New York; the Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research of the La Jolla Institute of Immunology in San Diego, California; the Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington; and St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center laboratory for storage and transport.
Blaine COVID STATS is sponsored generously by the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and the National Institute of Health (NIH) The sponsors have no financial interest in this study.
1) Public Health - Monitor COVID19 locally
2) COVID19 Immune Response Research
Terry O'Connor MD - Principal Investigator, St Luke's Emergency Medicine
Tom Archie MD - Co-Investigator, Family Physician, St Luke's Medical Staff
Ben Sheppard - Senior Research Coordinator
Emma Hampson - Assistant Research Coordinator
Maggie Doll PhD, MPH - Epidemiology , Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Colleen McLaughlin PhD, MPH - Epidemiology, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Hollie Bearce - St Luke's Wood River Laboratory
St Luke’s Research Department
James Loveless, MD - Medical Director
Janet Hines - Director of Clinical Research
Katelyn Penny, JD - Compliance Manager
Ben Sheppard - Senior Research Coordinator
What describes the ideal study participant? Any Blaine County resident aged 18 years or older who has not yet had COVID-19 infection or vaccination and who is in frequent contact with the public and able to participate for six months.
Why should someone participate? This research can help reduce the community spread of Covid-19 through earlier detection. It can help scientific experts understand the natural immune system mechanisms that successfully combat infections. Finally, participants can help scientists better understand responses to vaccines in the prevention of severe disease and reducing rates of transmission.
If someone has already been vaccinated for COVID-19 can they participate? No. Blaine COVID STATS will enroll people who have not yet been vaccinated. Some who wind up getting vaccinated while already in the study may continue to participate in the study.
What will study participants do?
All participants will have labs drawn upon enrollment. They will then begin to answer weekly online symptom questionnaires for six months. They will do at-home self collection nasal swab tests if directed to do so by the Study Team because of being exposed or symptomatic. In addition, participants whose lab tests indicated no prior COVID-19 infection at the time of enrollment will do at home self-collection nasal swab tests once per week regardless of symptoms.
Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 during the study will have additional lab draws to study the immune response. Participants may have a lab draw at the end of the six months.
Where are lab tests done? Viral detection nasal swab tests are self-administered by participants and tested in Seattle. Blood draws are scheduled at St Luke’s Wood River Medical Center and analyzed at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.
How much are participants paid? Participants are paid per study event (lab draw, viral test, or questionnaire), and the timing of those is based on study protocol. Most participants will be paid in the range of $70-$260, depending on the frequency of testing and questionnaires; people will do more tests and questionnaires if developing COVID19 infection during the study. Payments are made to participants in two sums - midway through the study and after completing the study.
If a participant contracts COVID-19, can they remain in the study? Yes
How is a participant’s information shared? Lab results are shared with participants via a secure online portal designed for this study. Each participant will create an individual login and password. No personal health information or lab results are shared with St Luke’s Health System and will not appear in MyChart. Viral detection nasal swab results are reported to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare as per regulation. In case of a positive test result for new COVID-19 infection, contract tracing is conducted by the South Central Public Health District.
Is this study looking at Long COVID? Anyone testing positive will have longer-term followup symptom questionnaires and may also have optional future lab tests to help researchers better understand Long COVID and the immune responses that are related to that condition.
How are the research findings of Blaine COVID STATS going to be shared? After the completion of this study, researchers
plan to report its results in a peer-reviewed publication. As above, viral detection nasal swab results are reported to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in a rolling real-time manner, as per regulation.
There may be opportunities to volunteer to support the local operation of Blaine COVID STATS.
Please let us know you are interested by emailing us:
Type "Volunteer" in the subject line.