Wright State to collaborate with Air Force on testing for COVID-19 antibodies

Wright State University researchers plan to partner with the Air Force Research Laboratory in collecting blood and saliva samples from people who may have COVID-19 antibodies. The sampling is part of a pilot study aimed at validating industry testing kits.

The sampling of up to 4,526 participants over a 12-week period ending in September will occur at an off-campus location in Fairborn. It will follow strict disinfection and data protection procedures.

Researchers from the 711th Human Performance Wing Airman Systems Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Air Force Lifecycle Management Center (AFLCMC), and Ginkgo Bioworks, are investigating existing and emerging testing methods to: (1) determine the number of people with detectable COVID-19 antibodies, but no known exposure or confirmed clinical illness; and (2) leverage technological advancements to demonstrate scalable methods of detecting active COVID-19 infection.

Sampling for the study will be done by researchers from the 711th Human Performance Wing in collaboration with Courtney Sulentic, an associate professor of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Mateen Rizki, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The sampling will occur Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants will be consented and enrolled over the phone and provided an appointment time for sample collection. There will be up to four sample collection stations running simultaneously throughout the day with samples regularly transported back to Wright-Patterson.

The researchers will exercise infection control guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control.

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