A group of researchers at Rochester Hills’ Oakland University is seeking public participation in a research study to identify COVID-19 symptoms and track the timeline of their development among the general population.
The project, which is taking place in the university’s Department of Biological Sciences, collects data through an anonymous online survey in which participants record information about their symptoms and general background.
The survey is designed to assess symptoms in people who have been or are currently diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as healthy individuals who would like to track their symptoms for up to three weeks to monitor if they get COVID-19 given the presence of non-specific symptoms.
The study is expected to help researchers better understand the disease and provide data needed to refine forecasting models and inform public health measures.
“This data will expand our knowledge of COVID-19 and may also help us determine whether certain anecdotally reported symptoms, such as loss of smell and taste, are truly associated with the disease,” says Luis Villa-Diaz, assistant professor of biological sciences and principal investigator of the study. “The more we can distinguish COVID-19 symptoms from those of other respiratory diseases, the more effective our diagnostics will be.”
Villa-Diaz added that the study is intended to raise awareness of COVID-19 symptoms, not diagnose. People experiencing symptoms should consult a medical professional.
“People around the world have different responses and survival rates regarding COVID-19, which makes it very important to study different populations,” says Khrystyna Shchubelka, a Ph.D. student who helped design the study. “At this point, most of the data comes solely from China, which may introduce bias into our understanding of this disease. We still know little about it, but there may be genetic factors that influence susceptibility and survival rates around the world.”
The study was designed to draw international participation. To facilitate responses, the research team enlisted the help of bilingual professors who are working to translate the survey into Spanish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, Italian, German, and French.
The survey is available here. Study results may be published in an article or publication or shared for future research studies. Identifying details of participants will be kept private. An informed consent document on the study is available here.