Wright State to collaborate with Air Force on testing for COVID-19 antibodies


FAIRBORN — Wright State University researchers plan to partner with the Air Force Research Laboratory in collecting blood and saliva samples from people who may have COVID-19 antibodies. The sampling is part of a pilot study aimed at validating industry testing kits.

The sampling of up to 4,526 participants during a 12-week period ending in September will occur at an off-campus location in Fairborn. It will follow strict disinfection and data protection procedures.

Researchers from the 711th Human Performance Wing Airman Systems Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Air Force Lifecycle Management Center (AFLCMC), and Ginkgo Bioworks, are investigating existing and emerging testing methods to determine the number of people with detectable COVID-19 antibodies but no known exposure or confirmed clinical illness; and leverage technological advancements to demonstrate scalable methods of detecting active COVID-19 infection.

Sampling for the study will be done by researchers from the 711th Human Performance Wing in collaboration with Dr. Courtney Sulentic, an associate professor of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Dr. Mateen Rizki, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

According to her professor bio and research statement, Sulentic’s primary focus is “to investigate the role of specific genetic and environmental factors in AhR-mediated regulation of antibody production with implications for the genotypic susceptibility of humans to environmental stressors.” She has taught at Wright State University since 2003 and her work has appeared in over twenty peer-reviewed publications.

The sampling will occur Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants will be consented and enrolled over the phone and provided an appointment time for sample collection. There will be up to four sample collection stations running simultaneously throughout the day with samples regularly transported back to Wright-Patterson.

Staff report

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