Rutgers Team Selected by NIH for COMPASS Study: SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Study in Newark

Rutgers Team Selected by NIH for COMPASS Study SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Study in Newark

Rutgers is one of 26 research sites selected by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and organizer and funder of the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) to conduct community-based seroprevalence studies. In this case, Rutgers has been assigned the City of Newark, New Jersey; the university will help determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in what has been one of the hardest hit cities in the country by the pandemic. Led by a principal investigator Rockstar profiled by TrialSite, Shobha Swaminathan will serve the Community Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Study (COMPASS) as clinical research site leader.  Rutgers’ associate director clinical research operations Christie Lyn Costanza shared recently, “The COMPASS study will not only get our team back out in the field to engage safely with our local communities but it will also provide another avenue for COVID-19 testing, education and provide information on local resources.” The Rutgers team now recruits adults and children for the COMPASS study  in a quest to better understand A) the frequency of current and prior COVID-19 infections in the community; B) frequency of infection among children; C) the medical, demographic and social risk factors associated with infection and disease; and D) uptake of public health measures to reduce the spread of the infection. TrialSite continues to remain impressed with the Dr. Swaminathan-led team out of Rutgers—grounded in community, pragmaticism, is scientifically methodical and sophisticated and comprehensive in outcomes.

The Study

The COMPASS study was organized to estimate the percentage of the people in the United States affected by SARS-CoV-2 in selected communities. The study was designed to help the investigators and sponsors evaluate the extent of COVID-19 in targeted communities while accumulating knowledge to better understand trends, attitudes and behaviors related to the pathogen. This data will help inform models of potential impact based on various prevention interventions as well as greatly influence and guide future SARS-CoV-2 studies in the targeted communities. Moreover, the study will produce valuable samples for important laboratory assessments related to the acquisition of SARS-CoV-2.

A real world focused study, the team gets out into the community as well as into outpatient medical clinics and nursing and assisted living facilities, the latter representing the highest risks for COVID-19. COMPASS is run by the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoPVN), which again was formed by NIAID. For a Question & Answers about COMPASS, follow the link

Investigator POV

As shared recently by Dr. Swaminathan who also is affiliated with the Rutgers Research with a Heart and associate professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, “There are still so many questions unanswered and things we have to discover in real time in relation to this pandemic.” An ongoing enigma includes the perplexing nature of COVID-19 asymptomatic infections. Dr. Swaminathan shared recently, “This study will help us to better understand how the virus has impacted our community.”


Eligible volunteers will have one study visit that takes about an hour and will be asked to complete a brief survey, provide a small blood sample and have a nasal swab to test for COVID-19. No medicine or vaccine will be given to people who participate in the study. Volunteers will be notified of the results of their COVID-19 test and will be compensated for their time. 

Lead Research/Investigator

Shobha Swaminathan, MD, Dr. Swaminathan led the first Moderna vaccine study for Rutgers.

Christie Lyn Costanza, Community Engagement Manager

Call to Action: This Rutgers team is one of the more sophisticated groups for bringing research into inner-city communities. TrialSite will monitor the study. Sign up for the daily newsletter for updates.