Immunosurveillance and Experiences of COVID-19 in North Dakota

About this project

Purpose

The Immunosurveillance and Experiences of COVID-19 in North Dakota project seeks to better understand the level of population immunity to COVID-19 brought on from natural infection, vaccination, or both and to understand the COVID-19 experiences of the citizens of North Dakota. We will do this through the identification of antibodies and T-cells to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or to the spike protein made from the vaccine. These different tests of immunity can help identify if people have been infected by the virus in the past (even if they never had symptoms), have developed an immune response to a vaccine, or both. PCR testing will identify presence of the virus indicating current infection. This information will provide insight into how our communities might be protected against later infection.

Participant Selection

Participants will be recruited via mailed invitations sent to a random sample of addresses selected from a list of all US Postal Service addresses in North Dakota. The project has two arms: survey only (representative population sample of North Dakota) and survey with blood and saliva sample collection (Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa). Each mailing includes an invitation letter and a survey for one adult to complete. Participation will be based only on those that voluntarily return the survey or respond by phone or email to the invitation to participate in the testing event. There will be three waves of data collection. Only respondents to the first wave will be sent a follow-up survey and invitation to participate 6 months and 12 months after the first survey and sample collection event.

Survey

The survey will collect information about people’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in North Dakota. This information can be used to understand how citizens experienced COVID, identify gaps in the system response, and inform public health response to COVID-19, future outbreaks, or other public health emergencies. Survey data includes self-reported access to vaccine and testing, experiences with COVID-19 symptoms, access to healthcare and health insurance coverage during the pandemic, opinions about the COVID-19 response, as well as general health and demographic information.

Sample Collection

Sample collection events will be held in each of the five communities (Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck, Standing Rock, and Turtle Mountain). Events will be staffed by project team members and phlebotomists from the North Dakota Department of Health, where blood samples and COVID-19 oral swabs will be collected. Blood samples will be tested using antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Saliva swabs will be used to identify  active SARS-CoV-2. PCR testing of the swabs will be conducted at the NDDoH lab.  

Image from the CDC.gov website

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