CU study to help determine whether vaccinated people can spread COVID

BOULDER — About 700 students from the University of Colorado Boulder will participate in a national study to determine if the Moderna vaccine prevents vaccinated people from spreading the virus.

Dr. Brian Stauffer, director of the cardiovascular disease core curriculum at the Anschutz Medical Campus will help oversee a study on the CU Boulder campus to determine whether the Moderna vaccine can prevent transmission of COVID-19. Courtesy Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado

Clinical studies have already shown that the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective in preventing vaccinated adults from getting the disease or, if they do contract it, in keeping them from getting seriously ill, according to research cited by the Centers for Disease Control. But can vaccinated adults still spread it?

About 12,000 students, ages 18 to 26, from 21 universities will participate in PreventCOVIDU, a five-month, federally-funded study led by the COVID-19 Prevention Network  at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, according to information provided by CU. CU Boulder was the first site to roll it out.

Half the students in the study will be vaccinated now, and the other half in about four months. Volunteers will be tested daily using nasal swabs, twice weekly using saliva monitoring and periodically have their blood drawn.

Data collected will enable researchers to discover the amount of viral particles present in infected individuals in real time. Researchers will also track 25,500 close contacts of participants nationwide, according to a written statement from CU. If a study participant tests positive, close contacts will be asked to collect daily nasal swabs for 14 days as well as blood samples to determine if they, too, get infected, the statement said. 

“Until we know how much vaccination protects you from infecting others, it is hard to know how much to relax restrictions and fully reopen things,” said co-principal investigator Dr. Brian Stauffer, medical director of the CTRC and chief of cardiology at Denver Health Medical Center.

Researchers expect study results prior to fall 2021.

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC