The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections


For the first phase of this study, we are planning a prospective 6-month surveillance program. Primary funding for this first phase will be needed to: 1) Support personnel and supplies for each one of the twelve project coordinating center units as described in the Project Coordinating Centers subsection; and 2) Support personnel and supplies for the testing of biological samples using RT-PCR to detect SARS-CoV-2 as described in the Laboratory Methods subsection. A full detail of the budget is presented in Appendix 5.


An important feature of COVID-19, the disease produced by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is the high number of health care workers (HCWs) that acquire the disease. In an initial report of 138 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia in China, 40 patients (29%) were HCWs. One reason why HCWs are at higher risk of acquiring COVID-19 is that some patients with COVID-19 are admitted to the hospital without the classical presentation and are therefore not tested for the disease early during hospitalization. Presently in the US, it is recommended to test for COVID-19 when physicians suspect the disease. This subjective approach may allow hospital transmission of COVID-19 from patients without the classical clinical presentation. The primary objective of this study is to establish a surveillance system for early identification of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 to allow for early implementation of infection control interventions in an attempt to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to HCWs and other hospitalized patients. We are proposing to test all patients who present to the emergency departments and/or are hospitalized with signs and symptoms of respiratory infection or gastrointestinal infection for SARS-CoV-2, regardless of clinical suspicion of COVID-19. Biological samples obtained from all patients having symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infection will be tested using real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of SARS-CoV-2. Using a robotic instrument, the CMP laboratory will be able to test more than 500 samples a day. Data will be reported in real-time to participating hospitals for rapid implementation of infection control measures.



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