UMMC receives $1.6 million for COVID-19 community study


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) is receiving more than $1.6 million from a $54 million, two-year Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contract for community-based COVID-19 research.

Led by Wake Forest Baptist Health and management firm Vysnova, the project will address epidemiological and clinical questions about COVID-19 using a multi-site study of patients and health care workers in health systems. Dr. Adolfo Correa, professor of medicine and director for the Jackson Heart Study, and Dr. Leandro Mena, professor and chair of the Department of Population Health Science, are UMMC’s principal investigators for the study.

“The University of Mississippi Medical Center team is honored and excited to participate as a collaborating site in this important study of the COVID-19 pandemic. This timely project offers a unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of the pandemic in Mississippi,” Correa said.

About 100,000 Mississippians have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, since March 11. While daily new cases have dropped since summer, the proportion of Mississippians who have tested positive – about three percent – is among the highest in the United States.

The study will estimate COVID-19 prevalence and incidence by geography, age, race and other demographic measures, as well as clinical consequences. Participants will report potential exposures, symptoms and behaviors like mask-wearing through a secure app on their personal device. Some participants may also test for COVID-19 antibodies at home. The study will also look at the effectiveness of personal protective equipment in preventing COVID-19 infection among health care workers.

These patient populations may have an outsized risk of becoming severely ill with or dying from COVID-19. The JHS and ARIC participants are mostly older African American adults, a significant number of whom have high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular and renal disease, Correa said. HIV and other immunocompromising conditions might also raise the risk of COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Learn more about the study here.


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