How to sign up for a long COVID study with VCU researchers

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 12:16 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A team of researchers at VCU is studying the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on kids.

It’s believed 75% of children have had COVID since 2020. The hope is that they can develop treatments to help those most impacted by the virus.

It’s part of a nationwide study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“We’re behind on the impact on children,” said Patricia Kinser, Ph.D., endowed professor and assistant dean for research at VCU School of Nursing, and co-leader at the VCU site. “We’re behind on knowing exactly how many children are being affected. We’re behind on understanding.”

There’s an urgency to collect that data, so medical researchers can also develop interventions.

“To help improve their quality of life and their symptom experience in the future,” Kinser said.

Researchers need help to do that from 240 families with children, adolescents or young adults age 25 or younger. Your child doesn’t have to be really sick to help with the research.

Even children with just one or two symptoms will help researchers better understand COVID and its impacts, but your child has to have had COVID. The project is split into three phases.

In the first phase, the research team will survey participants on their health and well-being and collect biological samples, such as saliva and a tiny bit of blood.

The second and third phases will involve clinical assessments on some participants over the next several years to assess their health, including their lungs, heart and neurodevelopment.

“You know, we had a story of a mother who wrote to us who wanted to sign her adolescent son up because he had had an infection back early in the pandemic and ever since has had this prolonged, difficult depression and anxiety that he just can’t get out of,” said Kinser. “And then the fatigue has been debilitating. And she wrote to us saying, ‘I want to participate because I wanted to get involved not only for his health, but also to help so that we can understand and make changes for others that are experiencing the same thing.’”

Researchers say this work could take years, but it will be worth it. Families who participate will get paid, and be able to see their children’s results.

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