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Swabs for Science of Spread

Families are swabbing themselves as part of a study into how kids transmit SARS-CoV-2, the Associated Press reports.

The study, which is being led by Vanderbilt University researchers, has enrolled 2,000 families to whom researchers mail sample kits. As the AP reports, the families collect their own nasal swabs and, occasionally, blood and stool samples to send back to the researchers, as well as answer questionnaires. 

Through this analysis, they hope to learn how the virus spreads — or not — through families. Some previous studies have suggested that young children do not easily catch or transmit SARS-CoV-2 and others have indicated that older children spread the virus similarly to adults, the AP notes. It adds that the study is also examining whether children with asthma or allergies have protection from the virus, as some initial studies have suggested.

"The bottom line is we just don't know yet the degree to which children can transmit the virus," Vanderbilt's Tina Hartert of University tells the AP.