TEXAS CARES: Participate in the Nation’s Largest Covid‑19 Study!

TEXAS CARES: Participate in the Nation’s Largest Covid‑19 Study!

What is Texas CARES?

The Texas Coronavirus Antibody Response Survey, or Texas CARES, is a survey that will help us better understand the human antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Survey participants will help us measure things like how many people in the survey already have COVID-19 antibodies, and how long those antibodies last. 

How does it work?

To identify what percent of the survey population has antibodies in their blood, we will use a serology test, also known as an antibody test. A serology test looks for antibodies in the blood, which are specific proteins made in response to infections. Serology results are especially important for detecting previous infections in people who had few or no symptoms.

We will review the results of the serology tests, along with responses to a series of surveys that help us understand what things could contribute to people’s differences in COVID-19 symptoms and diagnosis.

What are the survey’s goals?

To be specific, our survey is aiming to uncover these key things: 

  • Estimate how many people in Texas have been infected with SARS-CoV-2.
  • How long COVID-19 antibodies last in someone’s system.
  • Identify the characteristics of people who develop COVID-19 antibodies.
  • Identify the characteristics of people who never develop COVID-19 antibodies.

Why does it matter?

We currently know very little about how COVID-19 antibodies work. People with antibodies to COVID-19 may have an immune response to a future infection, but we don’t have enough evidence to support that idea. We do not know if the antibodies will provide someone with any immunity, or even partial protection, from getting infected again. Even if antibodies do provide immunity, we don’t know the amount of antibodies needed for protection, how long that protection might last, or if people with antibodies can still infect others.

Your participation in this survey will provide us with the data that can answer these questions, which can in turn inform local and state policy, as well as safety procedures. In other words, you are helping us in the effort to combat COVID-19 at a local, state and national level.

What do volunteers have to do?

If you sign up to be a part of Texas CARES you will receive three free antibody tests between September 2020-July 2021. We are working with local labs across Texas to make it convenient for you to enroll and complete your test. After each test, you will receive your results in a confidential and timely manner.  You will also be asked to complete three brief online surveys over time about your health, household and community.

Who is eligible to participate in the survey?

Texas CARES is looking at how different people’s experiences with COVID-19, including whether or not they show symptoms, may impact their antibody response. We also want to understand how antibodies, and the immunity they might provide, is developing across the state. Individuals who have tested positive, negative, or have never been tested for COVID-19 at all are welcome to participate.

Our survey will be working with:

  • School-aged children*, 5-17 years
  • Teachers and education professionals
  • Employees in retail, business or service sectors
  • Patients at community clinics

*We want to include children 5-17 years to ensure that we understand how children may develop immunity, may have been asymptomatic (no symptoms) and have antibodies that are helping them stay healthy. It is important that we have children in the project as they will be returning to school, may be exposed at different levels and may be asymptomatic. Children will have their blood drawn by certified phlebotomists who have experience working with children.

What’s the process like? 

Participants will need to complete a brief initial survey that will help us better understand your health and the environmental factors that affect it. The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete. You will also be asked to visit a participating clinic where a phlebotomist will draw blood for your first antibody test, which we will call “T1.” You can access your results by signing up for your Sonic MyAccess account at www.cpllabs.com/sonicmyaccess or texting “CPL” to 66349 

Three to four months after your T1, you will return to a participating health clinic where a phlebotomist will draw blood for your second antibody test (T2). You will also complete a brief five-minute survey during this stage. You will receive the results of your T2 as soon as they are available. 

Six to seven months after your T2, you will return to a participating health clinic where a phlebotomist will draw blood for your third antibody test (T3). You will also complete a ten-minute survey during this stage. You will receive the results of your T3 as soon as they are available. 

How do I sign up to join Texas CARES? 

To participate in Texas CARES, you will need to: 

  1. Complete the consent form and initial survey, available here: https://go.uth.edu/txcares.  
  2. Choose a clinical pathology lab site where you will go to have your blood drawn for your 3 antibody tests. To find a CPL site convenient to you, visit https://www.cpllabs.com/locations/. Once on the CPL webpage, scroll all the way down to the bottom to enter your zip code. Please be sure to bring your ID to your CPL visits.
  3. While at your first antibody test (T1) appointment, your attending clinician at the CPL may verify that you completed the initial consent form and survey. Please note that appointments are walk-in, but you may want to call ahead as CPL clinic open hours are subject to change due to COVID-related restrictions.
  4. Mark your calendar for a reminder to return for your next antibody test as you leave the clinic. The survey team will also send reminder emails for T2 and T3.
  5. For T2 and T3, you will also be asked to complete an additional survey. 

The results of your antibody test will be available to you after each CPL visit through your Sonic MyAccess account at www.cpllabs.com/sonicmyaccess. Your test results and survey responses are protected by HIPAA regulations, just like your health records. Individual results will not be shared with your employer, professional organizations or any other stakeholders. 

Who is managing the survey? 

Texas CARES is managed by a collaborative team from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, in partnership with Texas DSHS, CPL, and the UT System. 

Who can I contact if I have questions?

Contact the Texas CARES team at TexasCARES@uth.tmc.edu and for more information, visit the Texas CARES webpage.