Be a part of GoViral’s third season!

October is not only the month of witches, vampires, zombies and pumpkin spice lattes…

It’s also the start of flu season –- and a great time to join the GoViral study!

GoViral is a study for testing viruses. Participants are sent kits and, when they get sick, can use these kits to collect and send in virus specimens. Both aggregate and individual results are returned: Find out what viruses were in your area – and which virus got you sick.

Entering its third year this season, the project is led by Rumi Chunara at New York University. GoViral is an Open Humans Research Partner, and we wanted to give you some updates on their work. The research has seen important progress so far. Back in 2013, Dr. Chunara wasn’t even sure whether participants could collect specimens at home and ship them to a lab in a timely manner without contamination. One of her first discoveries: They can! Check out the GoViral site for video demonstrations of how to collect saliva and nasal swabs – the whole process takes just a few minutes.

Due to this success, the GoViral team made further discoveries. For example, they discovered that they can detect viruses in samples taken as late as six days after symptoms first present themselves. This means that we all shed viruses – and therefore are contagious – for a longer period than most of us always assumed. So do your coworkers a favor and take that extra sick day from work!

By now, GoViral has processed over 500 specimens. What has been uncovered has largely corresponded with what is known from clinical data: Up to 20% of the population gets influenza each year and preventative measures – such as getting the flu vaccine and frequent hand-washing – are beneficial. The study has also shown, for the first time, a definitive concordance between nasal and saliva specimens. For more details, you can read the research report that the GoViral team published earlier this year: “Surveillance of Acute Respiratory Infections Using Community-Submitted Symptoms and Specimens for Molecular Diagnostic Testing”

GoViral continues to expand. One of the variables GoViral studies is geography, and in past seasons it has been concentrated on the Northeast United States. Whether it expands to new areas depends on how many people in that area sign up. Interested in having them join your area? Don’t just sign yourself up, let others know about it too!

The study is ongoing – and the more people involved, the richer the data.

Interested in contributing? Click here to join GoViral

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