Indiana Daily Student

IU COVID-19 study partners with Native American tribe to research vaccine effectiveness

<p>A COVID-19 testing site is pictured Feb. 8, 2022, in Gym 171 in the School of Public Health. IU is partnering with a Native American tribe to further COVID-19 research. </p>

A COVID-19 testing site is pictured Feb. 8, 2022, in Gym 171 in the School of Public Health. IU is partnering with a Native American tribe to further COVID-19 research.

On Feb. 17 a study at IU announced they have partnered with a Native American tribe to learn more about how COVID-19 affects them. 

The goal of the study is to understand how COVID-19 infections vary over time compared to vaccinated and unvaccinated people. It also compares the immune response of those with the vaccine to those with a previous COVID-19 infection, according to a News at IU article.

The researchers involved in the study will work with members of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

A study site in Oklahoma will give researchers more information about how COVID-19 affects immune responses in Native American populations, according to the article. 

“We’re honored and thrilled to work with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians to advance COVID-19 research,” School of Public Health Dean David Allison said. 

Melessa Kelley and John Lowe, who are both professors of nursing at the University of Texas at Austin and members of Native American tribes, are leading the study site in Oklahoma. 

The study started in 2020 with $12.5 million of the $15 million in funding from Jack Dorsey and the Chase and Stephanie Coleman Foundation, according to a News at IU article.

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly also contributed $300,000 to cover costs of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction tests. 

People from institutions such as George Washington University, the University of Iowa and Stanford University are also involved in the study, as well as people from private companies, according to the article.

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