Prospective Respiratory Outcomes from Tracking and Evaluating Community-based Testing (Project PROTECTS)

This two-year prospective cohort study aims to build on the CHASING COVID Cohort Study, which has monitored SARS-CoV-2 infection rates and associated risk factors through questionnaires and at-home serological testing since March 2020.  This new project will harness both at-home rapid antigen and PCR tests to investigate the incidence and symptom severity of several major respiratory viruses (SARS-CoV-2, RSV, and influenza A/B). It also aims to address gaps in our understanding of the short- and long-term effects of these viruses on daily life, in the context of existing vaccines, background immunity, and treatments.

To achieve the study aims, Project PROTECTS will enroll up to 6,000 participants, starting in the spring of 2024. Participants will complete quarterly questionnaires on existing symptoms, health status, quality of life, occupational activities, vaccination history, past respiratory illnesses, and healthcare utilization using a web-based platform or mobile app.

When participants exhibit symptoms of an acute respiratory infection, they will self-administer a multi-pathogen rapid test that is administered the same way as at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests. However, this test can simultaneously detect SARS-CoV-2, RSV, and influenza A or B, and can also detect co-infections.  Participants may also be asked to collect nasal swabs and saliva for PCR testing.  Participants may complete additional questionnaires over the ensuing six months, detailing symptoms, healthcare engagements, treatments, vaccination records, new clinical diagnoses, and quality of life, including overall health status, work-related, and other daily activities.

The findings may inform future public health strategies and interventions to mitigate the impact of severe respiratory viruses on population health outcomes.

Project Investigators
Project Staff