KSOM Dept of PopPublicHS_1 lineWhtGold

COVID-19 Pandemic Research Center (CPRC)

The Trojan Pandemic Response Initiative: Uptake, Markers and Determinants of Effectiveness, Subsequent Behaviors


We propose a study of the impact of the on-going SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic and Vaccination Campaign on USC students, staff and faculty that will (a) generate real-time evidence of attitudes, behaviors, and infections acutely needed for USC to pursue strategies and policies to minimize new COVID-19 infections while the USC public health campaign, including vaccinations, continues; and (b) capitalize on USC’s scientific strengths and the diversity of its workforce to generate scientific knowledge that both advances the field and is relatively unique. Leveraging an outstanding multi-disciplinary team and the ability to merge the data on individuals we will collect with their data from the on-going USC campaign of PCR testing for COVID, Trojan checks and vaccinations, we will recruit (1) 8,000 subjects into a ‘University Cohort’ that will be briefly surveyed and then followed to determine vaccine effectiveness; (2) 4,000 subjects into a ‘Survey/Health Cohort’ that will undergo intensive surveys repeated over time to ascertain the evolution of attitudes and behaviors in relation to infections and vaccinations; and (3) a ‘Biomarker Cohort’ of 600 subjects that will undergo the surveys as well as repeated collection of serum, cells, saliva, and urine in conjunction with and after their vaccinations.
Oversampling the University Cohort to ensure 25% representation among Latinos, 25% representation among Blacks, and 25% representation among Asians in the Survey/Health and Biomarker Cohorts will allow rigorous study of groups that have experienced markedly higher rates of infection, morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, yet have been understudied with respect to COVID-19. The surveys will provide real-time information on the prevalence and factors associated with vaccine hesitation/refusal, maladoption or rejection of social distancing and masking after vaccination, and other attitudes and behaviors critical for USC policy-makers. The serum will be quantitatively tested with the Luminex assay for IgG, IgA, and IgM antibodies related to vaccination (S) and natural infection (S, S/RBD, N), which will allow for testing a number of novel hypotheses on the immune response to the vaccines. Extra serum and the cells, saliva, and urine will be archived in a biorepository for additional planned research (e.g., tests of cellular immunity, viral antigen load, human and viral genomics, and assays of immunotoxicants). Overall, based on our power calculations, these data and the associated sample sizes will allow us to test a number of critical hypotheses related to variation in protective immunity and public health behaviors by race/ethnicity, age, gender, environmental exposures, genetics, and other factors while also creating a shareable data and biorepository resource with outstanding potential for additional research by the USC investigator community.
Principal Investigator
Howard Hu, MD, ScD, MPH
Department of Preventive Medicine, KSOM

Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD
Department of Preventive Medicine, KSOM

David Conti, PhD
Department of Preventive Medicine, KSOM

Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD
Department of Preventive Medicine, KSOM

Andrea Kovacs, MD
Keck School of Medicine

Jennifer Unger, PhD
Department of Preventive Medicine, KSOM

Research Scientist
Paul Anderson, MD, MPH

Research Team
Marisol Macedo, MPH
Project Specialist

Daniel Soto, MPH
Project Manager