Oregon State University said Monday that it’s received a grant that could lead to a nationwide expansion of its program that tests for the prevalence of the coronavirus.
The TRACE project started in April with voluntary, door-to-door testing for COVID-19 in Corvallis. Since then, OSU researchers have expanded their work to other Oregon communities, including Bend, Eugene, Hermiston and Newport.
The idea is that widespread testing will show the rate of prevalence in a given community and give public health officials more information to help slow the spread. TRACE researchers also analyze wastewater to help predict where COVID spikes will occur.
Now, OSU says it’s received a $2 million grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The money will help the university create what it’s calling a “TRACE Center.” It will provide logistical and technical support for other universities that want to create a local version of the TRACE program.
“In most communities across the country, it is still very hard to get reliable estimates of how many people are actually infected,” said TRACE leader Ben Dalziel, a population biologist in the OSU College of Science, in a press release. “The TRACE Center will support a network of university-community partnerships that monitor local prevalence and develop new approaches for community-based COVID monitoring."