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UArizona Health Sciences Researchers Investigate Virus Transmission in Households

Researchers will study factors associated with the spread of COVID-19 and influenza in households.
Researchers in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will study drivers of household transmission for COVID-19 and influenza.

UArizona Health Sciences Researchers Investigate Virus Transmission in Households

University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers will evaluate factors affecting the secondary transmission of COVID-19 and influenza within households during the Arizona Household Virus Study, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Respiratory Virus Transmission Network.

Kate Ellingson, PhD, is an assistant research professor in the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.According to the CDC, the Respiratory Virus Transmission Network is designed to estimate whether vaccines reduce transmission of influenza and COVID-19 within households.

“The Arizona Household Virus Study will contribute to the national picture of household transmission of COVID-19 and influenza,” said Kate Ellingson, PhD, assistant research professor in the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. “It will help us understand transmission rates in households as well as risk factors that influence transmission, such as household size, composition and vaccination status.”

Dr. Ellingson and Karen Lutrick, PhD, assistant professor in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, are leading the Arizona Household Virus Study, which will run through June 2023. The study will look at the drivers of household transmission including virus characteristics, vaccination status, and the influence of physical and behavioral factors.

Community members are eligible to participate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or influenza within the last six days, currently live with someone who is not yet sick for at least 10 days prior to and after a COVID infection, and are able to read English or Spanish. Participants and other members of their household will complete at-home PCR tests, record daily symptoms and activities, and may be asked to provide blood samples for further testing.

Karen Lutrick, PhD, is an assistant professor in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Family and Community Medicine.Southern Arizona was selected as a regional site because of the region’s diverse population and high percentage of multigenerational families living in a single household., as well as Drs. Ellingson and Lutrick’s experience evaluating COVID-19.

“Dr. Ellingson and Dr. Lutrick are the ideal researchers to lead the Arizona portion of this vital national CDC study,” said Iman Hakim, MD, Dean of the Zuckerman College of Public Health. “They bring experience and expertise to the job, including current experience working on COVID-19 research with the CDC.”

The Respiratory Virus Transmission Network is one of the CDC’s Vaccine Effectiveness Networks. To carry out the study, the CDC has partnered with Vanderbilt University, which is coordinating seven regional study sites. In addition to Vanderbilt and UArizona Health Sciences, other sites include the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, the University of Colorado, the University of North Carolina, Stanford University and Columbia University.

Learn more about the Arizona Household Virus Study online or contact a study coordinator at 520-621-8357 or AZHVS-ArizonaHVS@arizona.edu. Participants may be compensated. To determine eligibility, visit https://bit.ly/azhvs.