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ETSU seeks volunteers for new study on COVID-19 'long haulers'

Researchers hope to understand why COVID-19 may affect some people for longer, and to find new ways to treat it.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — ETSU is recruiting volunteers for a new study on COVID-19 “long haulers.”

Clinical research coordinator James Adkins gave reporters a tour of the university’s biorepository, a collection of hundreds of donated blood samples researchers are using to study diseases like COVID-19.

Already, they've learned more about how plasma can help treat and prevent the illness, all from a repository that launched just before the pandemic.

“I think that's really what's put us ahead of the curve in this,” Adkins said. “We were already set up and geared to hit the ground running when this thing hit.”

Now, Adkins is looking for so-called long haulers still struggling with symptoms months after catching COVID-19. The goal is to find out why it still impacts patients and discover new ways to treat it.

“They would only be required to give no more than 30 minutes of their time to submit a blood sample, to give a self-report on their time spent with COVID and any ongoing symptoms 90 days after the fact of recuperation. Basically, that's it,” Adkins said.

Volunteers will get a free antibody test. Adkins wants people to check back in and provide samples every so often, but it's optional.

“I like answers,” he said. “I'm a problem solver and I want to get to the bottom of this one, and I think it's going to take a collaborative effort to do that.”

If you want to join the study, contact Adkins by calling 423-430-2443 or email adkinsjl1@etsu.edu.

This story was originally reported by WCYB.