In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, Temiloluwa Prioleau, an assistant professor of computer science, recognized that data would be key to understanding the public health threat.
In May, Prioleau launched an online research program to gather information from people in the U.S. who have contracted COVID-19. The research project —called “C19 Insider Scoop”— recruits individuals who tested positive and who self-identify as having recovered from the novel coronavirus.
“The overwhelming majority of people who contracted COVID-19 have journeyed through their illness in self-isolation,” says Prioleau. “These people have been suffering and recovering in silence. What we learn from them can help society at large understand the different facets of COVID-19.”
How do individuals contract the virus? What are the symptoms? What do people who experience COVID-19 know about the illness that others might not? These are among the questions that Prioleau wants to help answer through her research, she says.
The study uses a questionnaire to collect stories about individual experiences with COVID-19. Once admitted to the program, participants provide information on a wide range of topics, such as general demographics, precautionary measures used before contraction of the virus, trajectory of illness, symptoms, coping strategies, and the road to recovery.
Insights from her study could be used by policymakers, researchers, and households to guide decisions at every level—from family heads to national leaders.
“Crowdsourcing is a powerful way to build datasets that can support research,” says Prioleau. “Such datasets can be integrated with clinical measures to better understand the novel coronavirus and how to contain its devastating impact on people of all ages, races, and demographics—families and society in general.”
The project is partially supported by fast-track funding from Dartmouth’s “Spark” program, which aims to facilitate time-critical, high-impact research projects relevant to the pandemic and its human and societal effects. Prioleau has also received a “RAPID” response grant from the National Science Foundation.
“Projects like this demonstrate the creativity and flexibility of our faculty in challenging times and are contributing to national efforts to combat COVID-19,” says Dean Madden, vice provost for research.
Findings from the project will be reported on a publicly accessible website to support widespread access to the research. The results will also be submitted to scholarly publications.
“As we gradually restore on-campus research activity, it’s important to note that many of our research teams responded quickly and have continued to make progress remotely,” Madden says.
C19 Insider Scoop focuses on “learning from the experienced,” which makes it different from other COVID-19 studies, says Prioleau. This project is “giving a voice to people who have recovered from COVID-19 and helping communities learn from their experience.”
More information about the C19 Insider Scoop project can be found at www.c19insider.com
For the latest information on Dartmouth’s response to the pandemic visit the COVID-19 website.
David Hirsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org