Armed Forces News

San Diego, Aug 2020: Ensign Kaitlyn Leibing, right, a staff nurse assigned to one of Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) internal medicine wards, helps Hospitalman Angela Mello, a general duty corpsman assigned to NMCSD, don personal protective equipment (PPE), including a 3D-printed face shield donated to the hospital by Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, before entering a COVID-19-positive, non-critical patient’s room. (Navy photo by MCS 3rd Class Jake Greenberg)

Health professionals with the Naval Medical Research Center hope its ongoing research will add to the body of knowledge regarding the effects of Covid-19. The work on the project began last May at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, and now is centered in tenant commands at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

“The study helps us understand the long-term effects of Covid-19 amongst Marines,” said Navy Cmdr. Andrew Letizia, the study’s principal investigator. “It will also assist in understanding how a Marine’s immune system would be able to fight off new and emerging variants of the various SARS-CoV-2 strains, the virus that causes Covid-19, that are coming from around the world.”

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When the study began, it focused on young Marines as they entered boot camp. Researchers evaluated Marines who had contracted the virus for six weeks, watching how immune systems adapted to its progression.

At this point, volunteer participants continue to allow the research team to monitor their heart, lungs and mental health in addition to their immune systems.

Marine Corps PFC Jada May, a supply chain and material management specialist at the Ground Supply School, Camp Johnson, North Carolina, has been a volunteer participant since she entered the service.

“I volunteered because, as a twin, I wanted to see if Covid-19 would affect me differently as well as others,” May said.