The Oak Crest Institute of Science has been running at full speed throughout the pandemic thanks to a rapidly implemented IRB-approved workplace clinical study that includes frequent, longitudinal COVID-19 testing. The study, starting in March 2020, used the faculty, staff, and family members as subjects to evaluate the impact of regular testing on worksite productivity.
The ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-qPCR (nasal swab) at levels before employees become infectious (according to CDC guidelines) and with same-day results has allowed Oak Crest to maintain a safe workplace.
Study lead Marc Baum notes that this should serve as a model for other organizations: “The study is a testament to how a small organization can creatively use its resources and expertise to safely and responsibly remain operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and make some pretty significant scientific discoveries along the way. We hope our clinical study can serve as a roadmap for others to follow.”
First author Manjula Gunawardana also highlights the enormous impact on the Oak Crest family: “In addition to the scientific findings contributing to COVID-19 epidemiology, the study provided much needed information about the spread of infection and an assurance to employees and their household members, enabling “normality in daily life” during the pandemic in L.A county.”
The publication has just been submitted for peer-review and is available as a pre-print on medRxiv.