$2 million grant to expand OSU’s TRACE project nationally


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon State University’s COVID-19 public health project will soon be able to expand to other states.

In April, OSU researchers launched Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-Level Coronavirus Epidemics, or TRACE-COVID-19, with door-to-door sampling in Corvallis. They have since expanded to other cities around the state while also adding a wastewater testing component.

Now, a $2 million grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation will help create a national TRACE Center. The center will “harness the power of public health departments, universities and other institutions around the country to help measure the prevalence of the virus that causes COVID-19 by combining community surveillance sampling, wastewater analysis, viral sequence data and mathematical models of SARS-CoV-2 prevalence that OSU TRACE researchers have developed,” a press release said.

The Packard Foundation said OSU’s work is unique because of the way it tracks the prevalence and spread of coronavirus in Oregon.

“The TRACE study and its approach to tracking the prevalence and spread of the coronavirus have proven invaluable to communities in Oregon,” said Chad English, Science program officer for the Packard Foundation. “With the data and other insights that TRACE provides, public health leaders now have a powerful tool in their hands to better assess the threat of the virus and make decisions in the best interest of their community.”

“We at the Packard Foundation are thrilled to support the expansion of this effort to other states and universities around the country.”

OSU is now looking for other universities and public health departments interested in adapting the TRACE model. Anyone who is interested can reach out to the TRACE Coordinating Center at center@trace.oregonstate.edu.

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