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DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study expands
Online avenues open door for more to join study into how and why some communities are hit harder
- As North Texas braces for a second COVID wave and flu season, a major COVID-19 study by UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources is expanding.
- The study is expanding from its original invitation-only format to offer more members of Dallas and Tarrant County communities a chance to participate.
- Testing in the study is still free and includes testing for active and past infections.
DALLAS – Oct. 26, 2020 – As more DFW businesses and schools have reopened, and as cases have begun to surge again, researchers are expanding participation for the DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study – uniquely designed to reveal how widely COVID-19 has spread and why some communities are harder hit.
The study by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health is opening the process to allow anyone who lives in Dallas or Tarrant county to register online to participate. Individuals who sign up may answer surveys online or via phone and may be further selected for additional tests to determine whether they have or ever had COVID-19.
“Our study seeks critical answers we still don’t have – how many in the community have been infected with COVID-19 and why some communities are being harder hit. The large data set from 30,000 community volunteers will allow us to improve the strategies for countering its spread as we continue to restore business and school operations,” said Amit Singal, M.D., professor of internal medicine and population and data sciences who is principal investigator for the study.
“Since launching the study, we’ve had ongoing requests beyond those directly invited to participate, so we’ve expanded the parameters to provide an avenue for anyone living in Dallas and Tarrant counties to participate,” Dr. Singal said.
“We’ve made important strides in modeling and predicting COVID surges, which are mostly based on acute infections. We still need to understand how many people may have had mild or no symptoms and were never tested, but still had the infection. We also need to understand why the disease spreads more in some communities than others,” said Andrew Masica, M.D., chief medical officer of Reliable Health for Texas Health and study co-principal investigator. “Participation in this study is one way that individuals can help influence the DFW-area response to COVID.”
Volunteers are needed from all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, but particularly from African American and Hispanic communities, which are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
“We have the questions,” said Jasmin Tiro, Ph.D., a co-investigator and an associate professor of population and data sciences at UT Southwestern, “but our community holds the key and we need as many participants as possible to help us unlock those answers.”
Dr. Singal is a Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care and holds the David Bruton, Jr. Professorship in Clinical Cancer Research.
About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 24 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 13 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,500 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 3 million outpatient visits a year.
About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is a faith-based, nonprofit health system that cares for more patients in North Texas than any other provider. With a service area that consists of 16 counties and more than 7 million people, the system is committed to providing quality, coordinated care through its Texas Health Physicians Group and 27 hospital locations under the banners of Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Huguley. Texas Health access points and services, ranging from acute-care hospitals and trauma centers to outpatient facilities and home health and preventive services, provide the full continuum of care for all stages of life. The system has more than 4,000 licensed hospital beds, 6,200 physicians with active staff privileges and more than 23,000 employees. For more information about Texas Health, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org