MURDOCK C3PI Study COVID-19 Testing, Serology Underway in Kannapolis

With an enthusiastic response, more than 1,300 people have enrolled in the MURDOCK Cabarrus County COVID-19 Prevalence and Immunity (C3PI) Study since June 9, including 300 participants co-enrolled in a testing cohort.

Located at the Duke CTSI office in Kannapolis, the Translational Population Health Research (TransPop) group set up a drive-through testing site in a parking lot at the North Carolina Research Campus to observe participants self-administer their initial nasal swab test. They will do subsequent nasal swabs at home every other week for at least six months to detect COVID-19 infection. Serology testing is also underway to detect antibodies that could indicate prior, potentially asymptomatic, exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and possible immunity.

Volunteer Zenobia Fleming said she joined the MURDOCK C3PI Study because she wants to help researchers better understand COVID-19 and feels that by participating, she is benefitting society.

“The more knowledgeable we are about what’s really going on, the better,” said Fleming. “The only way we will know is that people will come forward to do things to try to help.”

Fleming said she signed up for the study and committed to months of follow-up via testing and online surveys because she has lost friends and family members to COVID-19 and believes that many people are not taking it seriously. She wants to be part of the solution.

“This is not a game, it’s nothing to take lightly, it is serious,” Fleming said.

Participant Aimy Steele expressed a similar concern that people “as a whole, need to take it more seriously.”

“My hope is that the research will help us make better decisions about how we move forward,” Steele said. “And about how we will be prepared the next time in case something like this happens again.”

Enrollment in the survey portion of the MURDOCK C3PI Study remains open to participants in the overall MURDOCK Study through August. All MURDOCK C3PI Study participants complete online surveys about their health every other week. The surveys assess symptoms, exposures and behaviors and examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them and their households. Researchers are especially interested in learning more about the behaviors of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people over time.

The MURDOCK C3PI Study is a partnership between Duke, study participants, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to understand the community prevalence of COVID-19 and to monitor the disease over time. The study is part of a statewide effort to learn more about what percentage of people have no symptoms and better understand the true number of COVID-19 infections in North Carolina.

Study volunteer Doug Martin said he was happy to sign up for the MURDOCK C3PI Study and saw participating as a way to help others.

“I know scientists need data in order to make improvements and everything,” he said. “And I am proud to be part of something like this.”

L. Kristin Newby, M.D., is principal investigator for the MURDOCK C3PI Study and faculty director for Duke TransPop. Chris Woods, M.D., is co-principal investigator for the MURDOCK C3PI Study and co-director for Duke’s Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health.

The MURDOCK Study is managed by Duke TransPop, part of the Duke CTSI. For more information, visit duketranspop.org. The MURDOCK Study is a landmark community-based health research initiative in Cabarrus County and has more than 12,500 participants. MURDOCK is an acronym that stands for the Measurement to Understand Reclassification of Disease Of Cabarrus and Kannapolis.

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