WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began a national four-year study on the impact of COVID-19 on Veterans to help address critical questions about the disease.
Known as EPIC3 (Epidemiology, Immunology and Clinical Characteristics of COVID-19), researchers will study data and biospecimens, such as throat swabs and blood, to learn how the virus that causes COVID-19 has affected Veterans.
“By analyzing data on COVID-19 risk factors, progression, outcomes and immunity, this VA research promises to significantly advance the fight against the disease,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The study will complement a similar effort by the Department of Defense (DOD).”
The effort is led by VA’s Cooperative Studies Program (CSP) and coordinated by VA’s Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center. CSP epidemiology centers in Durham, North Carolina; West Haven, Connecticut and Boston are also contributing to the four-year study.
The study involves Veterans infected with COVID-19 and those who have recovered or who may be at risk but have not been infected by the virus. They are volunteers who are inpatients, outpatients and residents in VA’s Community Living Centers. Each cohort consists of hundreds of Veterans.
A similar study is being conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD) involving active-duty service members. At the end of their respective studies, VA and DOD researchers plan to compare findings from the two study groups.
To learn more about VA research, visit research.va.gov.