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VCU launches study on impact of COVID-19 using twins, multiples

Hundreds of pairs of twins are being recruited through VCU’s Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry which...
Hundreds of pairs of twins are being recruited through VCU’s Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry which has a database of twins who are interested in the study.(Pixabay)
Published: Aug. 28, 2021 at 6:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Commonwealth University will be launching a study on the impact of COVID-19 on twins called, ‘The Twin 360 Project’. This study will determine genetic and environmental factors of why some people experience COVID-19 symptoms longer than others.

“Twins add a different lens through which you can view the impact of long COVID,” said Judy Silberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and co-lead for Twin 360. “They’ll help us unravel the genetic and environmental factors that play a role.”

According to an article published in July 2020, 87% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 reported one or more lasting symptoms 60 days after leaving the hospital. Another study in December showed that one-third of patients who were not hospitalized had lingering symptoms 30 to 40 days after being diagnosed.

Hundreds of pairs of twins are being recruited through VCU’s Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry which has a database of twins who are interested in the study. All races, ages and ethnicities of twins as well as identical and fraternal will be included in the study. Even triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets are included.

These participants will take part in a survey about their health and experiences of having COVID-19. Some will be asked to give blood and other samples.

VCU Health Long COVID-19 Clinic will be among the first in Virginia dedicated to treating lung, heart and neurologic effects that linger after COVID-19. The study will benefit the patients at this clinic.

“We encourage twins and multiples to sign up for the Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry at any time, but we’re especially encouraging twins who had COVID-19 and are experiencing lasting symptoms to register now,” said Silberg, who is the Scientific Director of the registry. “There are patients all over the world who could benefit from the data that will result from this study.”

Multiples who are interested can register for the Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry, update their contact information and express interest in the Twin 360 study here.

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