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Hospital system looks for ‘essential workers’ to take part in local COVID-19 recovery study

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 1:30 AM CST
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Baylor Scott & White Health is seeking first-responders, and other essential workers, in the Bell County area to take part in a voluntary CDC study.

The two-year research study called RECOVER, which stands for “Recovery in the Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Essential Response personnel”, intends to better understand how COVID-19 is affecting, and will affect, essential workers.

“The CDC needs to know how often people are getting infected, especially in front-facing jobs, and then how well will the vaccines work,” said Dr. Manju Gaglani, professor of pediatrics and research chair at Baylor Scott & White Health.

Gaglani, who is in charge of the hospital’s study, says they want to know how COVID-19 is affecting this population on a greater scale.

“We are also doing the blood work to look for antibody responses, so ‘how well are people responding to an infection with natural immunity, how long will that last?’" said Gaglani. “Also, when we start vaccinating people, ‘how good are the vaccines, in the real world, how well are they working?’”

Gaglani says, in addition to nurses, doctors, paramedics, firefighters, and police and correctional officers, they’re looking for pretty much anybody in Bell County who comes in close contact with people due to their work including school teachers, grocery and restaurant workers, and people in the hospitality industry.

“'I’m looking for community first-responders who might get vaccinated early as soon as a COVID-19 vaccine will be available, because one of the aims of the study is to see how well these vaccines are working, how often are people getting reinfected, so we’re also looking for people who might have already had COVID-19 infections," said Gaglani.

200 people have enrolled in the study so far, Gaglani says, but they need 240 more participants to sign-up before Thanksgiving.

Participants who complete weekly nose swabs (at-home) and at least three blood draws over about a year are eligible for around $500 in stipends, officials say.

However, Gaglani hopes the main incentive will be helping themselves, and others.

“If you’re infected, you would know, and be able to prevent from spreading to your loved ones,” said Gaglani.

The results will be published in scientific journals, she said.

Click here to enroll and take the pre-screening survey.

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