Author: dmilton (page 1 of 2)

New: UMD COVID-19 Study

We are recruiting new onset cases of COVID-19 to come to SPH for a new study. We are trying to find out if people with the infection are shedding infectious virus in their breath and whether surgical and homemade masks help reduce the amount shed into the air.  You can learn more about the new study at this website:

Members of the CATCH study cohort who report symptoms and are able to come to campus for testing will be tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. If they test positive for COVID-19 they will be given the opportunity to enroll in our new study.

The C.A.T.C.H. Study Will Go On!

Dear Participants,

The C.A.T.C.H. Study will continue. Although spring break will be extended and classes will move on-line, the research team will be here and the lab and clinic will be open.

During Spring Break — please keep using your wearable device and responding to daily symptom questionnaires and we will be happy to keep providing you compensation for your effort — every day without a break.

The research clinic will close this Friday (March 13) at 3pm, and reopen Monday March 23. So if you are staying on or near campus after break and through the period of on-line only instruction, you can still come to clinic and provide swabs — which we can test. We can still enroll contacts, if you have any.

Meanwhile, be safe. The new CDC guidelines for keeping homes and workplaces safe are fantastic, and comprehensive. Read and follow them.

Wishing you all the best,
The CATCH Team

Coronavirus symposium at UMD and other news

Did you catch the symposium in the Hoff theater today? If not, you can watch on Youtube — hear me and other faculty  from the SPH to learn more about the new coronavirus virus, what to expect, how to (and not to) read the news, and how to stay well.

Have you been wondering about how the situation on the cruise ship Diamond Princes got to be so bad? This article on Buzzfeednews with extensive information and links to some outstanding science by our friend and colleague at Purdue, Qingyan Chen, is worth a read [disclaimer — I’m quoted too].

Common Coronaviruses and the Novel Coronavirus — Big Difference!!

The common coronavirus is common — on average 17% of students get it every year.
The novel coronavirus is, well, novel and far away.  

You probably heard the news about the 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that started in Wuhan late last year. Well, so far there’s none of that here. But, there’s lots of the “run of the mill,” common coronavirus around this year and every year. It is one of the things that causes the “common cold.” These ‘normal’ human coronaviruses (HCoV) are definitely NOT ‘novel.’ There are  four different types of HCoV: 229E, HKU1, NL63, and OC43. Over the last three years of the CATCH study, we’ve identified over 100 cases of these four common coronaviruses. Here’s the data — note that each year we saw lots of coronavirus. On average over the years, 17% of people in our research study had a coronavirus infection.

Virus Sp 2017 Sp 2018 Sp 2019 Total
229E 5 6 20 31
HKU1 4 15 2 21
NL63 3 15 18
OC43 13 3 19 35
All Common HCoV 25 24 56 105
Total Participants 68 164 398 630
Percent infected 37% 15% 14% 17%

91 Baseline Visits! How many more will give samples and get $60!?

As of 4:30 pm Monday December 10, we have collected baseline samples from 91 people and 254 have completed the baseline survey. If you did the survey already but haven’t given samples, you can still come give samples before you leave for winter break and receive up to $60.

Thank you to everyone who has participated. CATCH the virus Study — and we hope you stay well.

More news… we have received human subjects research approvals for a new part of the study. You will soon be able to enroll and receive a free Health Tag by Spire to “make your clothes smart” and monitor your health.

200 People have done baseline surveys!

We are underway. Thank you to the first 200 people who have completed baseline surveys and to 47 who came to the clinic and gave baseline samples! You can fill out the survey anytime — if you didn’t get the email invitation give us a call at 4242-GOTFLU and we’ll send you one. Then schedule a time to come to the clinic and give biological samples and get paid.

The flu season is starting! Stay well but “CATCH the virus study!”

There’s just a little bit of flu around now. So, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. The chart below shows that there is just a tiny uptick recently. But, it is too early to know how big the season will be. We here at the CATCH study are ready to find out what happens on campus. Are you ready to join us, and get paid for your time? So far 120 people have completed the baseline survey and 19 have given baseline samples. Two people have been screened as possible acute respiratory infection cases. What about you?

This chart shows stacked bars displaying the number of positive tests colored by the type of influenza virus detected.

CDC FluView: Influenza positive tests reported to CDC by US Public Health Laboratories October 1, 2017 – November 17, 2018


See the Gesundheit-II in action (vintage clip from 2013)

In an online post called “Avoid the ‘back-to-school plague’ of flu and cold” CNN has a clip of the G-II in action in 2013 — when we collected samples from 178 people with influenza-like illness on the College Park Campus of the University of Maryland. A total of 156 of them had influenza virus infections and results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2018.

Do you have a cold or flu?

Stuffy nose, runny nose, tired and achy, scratchy throat, maybe a cough? Wonder what it is? If you are a first year student in the College Park Scholars STS, LS, or GPH programs (or a roommate of someone who is), you could find out — contact us. We can test you to see what you have, and you could join the study and be compensated for your effort.

CATCH the Virus Study NBC Evening News with Lester Holt

The NBC team with Dr. John Torres is just packing up and leaving campus now. Watch us on the Evening News with Lester Holt soon. (We will post an update when we know which night it will broadcast.)

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