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Update from the Trinity UniCoV Principal Investigators and Presidents of the Students’ Union and Graduate Students’ Union to students and staff

20 July 2021

Dear students and colleagues,

All Irish Universities and ITs aspire to have staff and students back to campus safely and sustainably so that the college experience is optimal.

Unfortunately, the need for COVID-19 detection and control will remain with us for some time.

What's new? Using the latest available public health tools, a new research study, UniCoV (www.unicov.org) is being rolled out across four universities, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD.

To facilitate the safe, continued return to on-campus learning and teaching for University students and staff, UniCoV explores the feasibility and acceptability of rapid self-testing, self-reporting, to assist with the early identification of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Like vaccinations, hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing, rapid tests using samples from nasal swabs or saliva have the potential to enhance and complement the existing public health strategy for monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19.

We need you to get involved and volunteer to take part!

What's involved? By way of a video, volunteers will be trained to perform rapid tests on nasal swabs or saliva samples. After taking the twice-weekly tests, volunteers photograph/report the results via a phone app, and also submit saliva samples twice weekly at an on-campus drop off point. If the rapid test result is positive, you will be clearly instructed on what to do next.

Volunteers will be randomly assigned to groups and can be asked to take tests from two to eight weeks.

Find out more by reading the Participant Information Leaflet, and registering your interest via: https://www.tcd.ie/ttmi/unicov/ .

The best ethical and legal practice will be followed to ensure that all your information will be handled in confidence.

Trinity has been running TriniScreen since September 2020. It will now be discontinued while we roll out the UniCoV pilot study in partnership with UCD, UCC and NUIG. Both the SU and GSU fully endorse the study and have actively engaged in multi-stakeholder contributions from the outset of UniCoV, and strongly encourage student participation with the ultimate objective of aiding the return to campus life.

Remember, testing alone doesn’t stop transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and development of COVID-19 . Please continue to follow public health guidance……wear a mask, avoid crowds, wash your hands and stay apart.

Please address any issues to the TCD UniCoV team via the following email: unicov@tcd.ie

We thank you for considering taking part in this important study,

Prof. Aideen Long, Prof. in Clinical Medicine; Director of Trinity Translational Medicine Institute
Prof. Orla Sheils, Dean of The Faculty of Health Sciences; Prof. of Molecular Diagnostics                
Prof. Kingston Mills, Prof. of Experimental Immunology; Academic Director of Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute
Gisèle Scanlon, President TCDGSU 2021/22
Leah Keogh, President TCDSU 2021/22

https://unicov.org/