Study to Track Virus Spread Among Vaccinated Students

Fauci calls the issue involving asymptomatic carriers 'of extreme importance'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2021 4:35 PM CDT
Study to Track Virus Spread Among Vaccinated Students
McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, College Park. The campus is part of a new study on asymptomatic spread.   (Getty/UmerPK)

A new study will try to provide answers to what Dr. Anthony Fauci calls "a question of extreme importance"—whether asymptomatic people who have been vaccinated can spread the coronavirus. And "if they’re asymptomatic, how much virus do they have in their nose and do they transmit it to people who are their close contacts?" Fauci said Friday. The study, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, will track students on 21 college campuses, Axios reports. Half will be given the Moderna vaccine immediately, with the others getting shots about four months later. The students will provide nose swabs, collected in bar-coded vials. To test for antibodies, blood samples will taken and tracked using an app.

Payment can near $1,000 for volunteers, and the study needs 12,000 of them. The results on the Moderna vaccine's effectiveness is due in September. The study could play a major role in helping public health officials decide how careful vaccinated people need to be, including whether they will need to keep wearing masks around anyone who hasn't been vaccinated, per the New York Times. Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says masks don't have be worn in small gatherings indoors, though everyone should still wear masks in public. More than 87 million people in the US have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, per the New York Times. (More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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