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University Of Kentucky Seeks Unvaccinated Participants For COVID-19 Transmission Study

Corinne Boyer
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton at a high school COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

The University of Kentucky is looking for participants for a study aiming at understanding  how COVID-19 is spreading among unvaccinated people.

The study is seeking participants who are 18-to-29 who haven’t been vaccinated. People who’ve tested positive for COVID are not eligible. To understand reasons behind decisions not to get vaccinated, the study will enroll those who don’t plan to get the vaccine and those who do.   

Study participants will take their own nose swabs daily and will be compensated.

Mallory Profeta with the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science said daily nose swabs are essential to understand how much of the virus people are carrying.

“We are really trying to understand how COVID is spreading among people, and especially if they're vaccinated,” Profeta said. “What effect do the vaccines have on viral load? So even if you're vaccinated, and you're exposed, you might still develop an infection.”

Dr. Rick Greenberg said nasal swabs are the crux of the study and will help researchers understand who is spreading the virus. 

“By doing this, we will be able to tell if there are differences in those who are vaccinated, and those who are not vaccinated,” Greenberg said. “In the news today, you're seeing the great concern people have about the spread of the Delta variant — this kind of information is critical to understand how protective the vaccines are and how necessary they are.”

The University of Kentucky is one of 30-to-40 study sites in the U.S. Researchers say they will not try and convince participants to get the COVID vaccine.

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