The University of Rochester Medical Center is launching a study to try to determine how long an individual stricken with COVID-19 is safe from reinfection.
The plan is to track about a hundred COVID-19-positive patients from the Rochester region and follow them over several months or longer.
The research, which could help delineate how most people contract COVID-19 and what immunity it builds in their systems, could be central to vaccine development and questions about how safely to reopen our society, according to researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Also, URMC officials say, the research could help see how household transmission occurs — the study hopes for some participants from the same households — and what allows the spread from asymptomatic individuals.
"We want to be able to contribute to ... our understanding of how great that population of asymptomatic infection is and, really, what the risk is to the public because of that," said Dr. Angela Branche, an infectious disease specialist at URMC.
Already, the individual who was the first known case of COVID-19 in Monroe County has volunteered, Branche said.
The study could help determine steps for re-opening society by demonstrating what it takes to build a larger immunity in the community, according to Dr. David Topham, the director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence.
The study is being supported with $5 million from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the institute that is led by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The URMC researchers hope that media coverage and a social media presence will help ensure participants from a cross-section of the community. A screening questionnaire is available at urmc.rochester.edu/covid-19-observational-research-study.aspx or those interested can call (585) 273-3990.