We at Sanguine Bioscience have partnered with multiple biotech and pharmaceutical companies, such as Vir Biotechnology and EpiVax, Inc, to facilitate over 23 research studies aimed at gaining a better understanding of COVID-19. Although the overarching goal of this research is to develop treatments and vaccines, valuable information can be obtained about the virus, its patterns of infection, and the effectiveness of community response to the epidemic.
Sanguine’s unique, medical research services model enables us to gather recovered, COVID-19 patient information and biospecimens quickly by bringing clinical trials and biospecimen research directly to patients’ homes. Patients are recruited nationwide via partnerships with advocacy agencies and social media outreach and then screened and their criteria matched to research studies. Our medical research personnel cross-check and verify patient information with their medical records, obtain informed consent, and set up an at-home visit or multiple visits depending on the needs of the study. During the at-home visit, patients’ identities are verified, study procedures are conducted, and biospecimen collection occurs. Our trained mobile medical professionals strictly adhere to study protocols and use universal precautions and infection control measures including personal protective equipment.
During a recent recruitment period for COVID-19 studies (March, April, and May 2020), we noticed interesting trends in our research participant data. During this time period, 481 individuals who experienced COVID-19 symptoms were screened and only 194 (40%) of them had received verbal confirmation or written documentation of their COVID-19 diagnosis. The other 60% of individuals felt they had symptoms but were not tested. (In a separate screening survey, 33/100 (30%) reported not being able to provide a positive COVID-19 test due to limited testing, lack of available testing, or testing availability after symptom resolution.)
Of those with a positive diagnosis, 81/194 (42%) reported they had been in contact with someone known or suspected to have had COVID-19 with the other 113 (58%) most likely contracting the virus through community spread. Of those with COVID-19 confirmation, 73 (38%) reported ageusia or anosmia (loss of smell or taste), 58 (30%) did not experience a fever, and 58 (30%) also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms are consistent with those reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to control our world, how we function within it, and how we interact with each other. We at Sanguine are excited to provide our expertise in conducting efficient clinical research through our established infrastructure in the fight against this global pandemic. The more we study and learn about the virus and its patterns of infection, the more we can control its spread, protect those most vulnerable, and develop treatments and vaccines to combat this pandemic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brian Neman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of Sanguine Biosciences. Brian focuses on all items relating to commercialization and relationships with researchers; he is an adjunct professor of Digital Health at USC, and co-founded Sanguine in 2010 out of his graduate program in healthcare administration at USC. He is also on the boards and committees of various organizations including HD Care, BIOCOM Big Data Committee, and more.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of Coronavirus. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html. Accessed July 22, 2020