In the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis that impacts all of us, public interest in science has grown and “everyday” people are eager to support COVID-19 research happening in real-time to make a meaningful impact. Here are easy ways to do more for science from the comfort of your home, even while social distancing. After all, there is power in numbers.

Become a Citizen Scientist

Last month, the American Lung Association announced a partnership with Northwestern University and University of California, San Francisco to engage the public in a new COVID-19 Citizen Science study. The study is a smartphone-based initiative and anyone 18 years of age or older can download the free and secure app for easy enrollment.

Upon initial registration – which takes a matter of minutes – and each day thereafter, the app prompts participants to answer a handful of routine questions about potential COVID-19 exposures and symptoms that he/she might have experienced. The estimated total commitment is 5 to 15 minutes per week. The collective data will, then, help scientists better understand how the novel coronavirus is spreading and offer insight into reducing future infections.

“I have found the app very easy to use and appreciate the daily reminders,” said Amy Hoopis, who registered for the study in response to an ad she saw on Facebook. “It truly does only take a minute a day once you’re set up and it’s a helpful way to look back at how well we’re doing with distancing. It’s motivating to feel that I can contribute to medical research right now.”

Ty Aldridge, another study participant, agrees, “The app is so simple. It’s an amazing opportunity to contribute to COVID-19 research. With everything happening right now, you can feel very helpless. I found it reaffirming to be able to assist in this way.”

Word is Spreading

While study investigators have set an impressive goal of attracting 1 million people around the world to participate in this effort, as of the publish date, over 1,000 Lung Association supporters have already signed up. Many more are still needed, though! So, please join the COVID-19 Citizen Science study and encourage your friends and family to participate as well. To learn more and download the app, visit Lung.org/citizen-science.

Taking Action

The Citizen Science study is part of the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative, our multifaceted commitment to end COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics. The COVID-19 Action Initiative will expand our ongoing respiratory research program, enhance key public health measures, and work with public and private entities to expand research collaboration and develop new vaccines, detection tests and treatment therapies. 

A cornerstone of this initiative is leveraging our existing research network and funding respiratory virus research. The research plan is three-fold:

  • Expanding COVID-19 research within the current studies Airways Clinical Trials Research Centers (ACRC) Network;
  • Funding coronavirus awards and grants for preventive research, vaccines, antivirals and to advance future outbreak preparedness;
  • Providing ACRC pilot grants to evaluate the effect of COVID-19 on patients with chronic lung disease.

You, too, can support the COVID-19 Action Initiative to help stop COVID-19 and take precautionary measures to protect public health from future respiratory virus pandemics. To make your tax-deductible gift, visit Lung.org/donate.

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