Start Coalition Focuses On OKC COVID-19 Research


Thursday, May 21st 2020, 5:52 pm
By: Bonnie Campo


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma City will be a unique test site for COVID-19 research.

Doctors from all across America are participating and said the Start Coalition is doing work others have yet to explore.

“The pandemic has had such a leveling effect. It is really going to take a combined effort of everyone looking at the data,” said Chris Kanaday, Start Advisory Council Member.

Oklahoma City was chosen for three big reasons:

-Researchers said they needed a city where academic hospitals like, OU Medical Center co-existed with research foundations like the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF).

-Doctors needed a city where COVID-19 was present, but had not overwhelmed the community, should a second wave hit.

-Finally, they said Oklahomans are traditionally open to research and willing to participate.

The team said they will be able to look at antibody testing, the effects of UV light on the virus, and even contact tracing.

“We are testing people for the virus and when we find people who are positive, then you go interview them. ‘Who have you seen recently? Who have you had dinner with?’ Then you go find those people and you test them,” said Dr. Stephen M. Prescott, OMRF President.

The Start Collation has partnered with Stanford and Alabama Birmingham Universities.

Doctors said they want to learn more about how the virus impacts race, those with limited income, and places that have been plagued by COVID-19.

“Hospitals, nursing homes, places that we know there are high risk—let’s do an experiment,” said Dr. Prescott.

The group is also exploring the idea of an app—similar to Yelp – that would rank a business or agencies in terms of a COVID scorecard.

“In the same way on TripAdvisor, you say ‘Our trip was like this. Do they have hand sanitizer? Do their employees wear masks?’” said Kanaday.

They will also focus on more testing, and said they hope to release more information soon.