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PhenX Measurement Protocols for COVID-19 Research

In August 2020, PhenX received additional funding from the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to establish a recommended collections of measurement protocols to support research on COVID-19. As a result of this project, six Specialty Collections of protocols were selected by a crowdsourcing method:

  • Behaviors and Risks
  • History, Treatment and Outcome
  • Information Resources
  • Psychosocial and Mental Health
  • Race, Ethnicity and Demographics
  • Socioeconomic

The COVID-19 Specialty Collections were added to the Toolkit in October 2020; they provide a common currency for people doing COVID-19 research. Use of these protocols will help researchers better understand the symptoms and treatments of COVID-19 diagnosis as well as the socioeconomic and mental health effects due to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Collections were established using the results of crowdsourcing and were approved by the PhenX Steering Committee. Further details of the PhenX COVID-19 Collection can be found here.

Specialty Collections

Each of the Specialty Collections is anchored with new COVID-19 measurement protocols. The rest of the protocols in the collection are from the current contents of the PhenX Toolkit. The results from crowdsourcing contributed to the development of the COVID-19 collections and the selection of COVID-19 protocols.

Crowdsourcing consisted of three phases that ran between August 5, 2020 to October 16, 2020.

  • Phase 1: Participants selected the top five topics relevant to COVID-19 research.
  • Phase 2: Participants organized the top 50% COVID-19 topics from Phase 1 into groupings.
  • Phase 3: Participants selected the top protocol for each COVID-19 topic.

The protocols were released with a “rapid release” status indicating our effort to make these cutting-edge data collection protocols quickly available to the research community.

Primary considerations for selection of the recommended COVID-19 protocols included:

  • Crowdsourcing results
  • From a reputable source
  • Broadly applicable to both research and clinical assessment

Other considerations

  • Available in other languages
  • Applicable to people of various lifestages
  • Publicly available
  • Addressed health disparities