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    COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines continues to study long-term effects of COVID-19 on Marines

    COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines continues to study long-term effects of COVID-19 on Marines

    Photo By Cpl. Alex Fairchild | U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Jan Marayag, a laboratory chief with the Naval Medical...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Alex Fairchild 

    Marine Corps Installations Pacific

    CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – A team composed of U.S. Navy medical personnel and civilian technicians based out of the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, assembled during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 to study the short and long-term effects that the virus has on Marines. The study is known as the COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines and is now following up with many of those Marines nearly two years later.

    The CHARM study was founded in May 2020 to assist the Marine Corps in managing COVID-19 outbreaks occurring at the recruit depots; they also helped monitor the health of recruits who tested positive for the virus. The second iteration of the study was launched soon after and deployed to over 15 bases around the U.S. and Okinawa, Japan, to follow up and monitor the symptoms those recruits, who are now in the Fleet Marine Force, may be experiencing.

    "The CHARM study is currently continuing its research here in Okinawa to follow up on participating Marines who contracted COVID-19 in the past," said Navy Capt. Charmagne Beckett, a research physician at the Naval Medical Research Center Silver Spring. "It is important that we travel across the globe to continue our research on these Marines and study the long-term effects they may have from contracting COVID-19 in the past."

    Beckett explained that although the Marines being monitored in Okinawa have been through the research process before during recruit training, they are still provided with an initial brief and asked if they wish to continue participating in the voluntary study. She said that the first event of the study consists of the Marines filling out a questionnaire which gives them a chance to outline what symptoms they may still have.
    After the Marines complete the questionnaire, they are taken through a series of tests that monitor breathing strength, cardiovascular strength, bodily responses to temperature, nasal swabs, saliva samples, and a blood draw. These tests are then compared to previous results that those Marines provided to the study to monitor the long-term effects.

    Although the study is far from over, some of the results the CHARM study has suggested is that it is common for Marines who had COVID-19 in the past to experience symptoms such as loss of taste and smell and recurring nausea.

    "Not only does the information from this research benefit Marines, but by extension, it also helps take care of local populations," said Beckett. "We are hoping to see long-term benefits of this study to help answer important questions on COVID-19 such as 'how does vaccination affect the symptoms and resistance of the Omicron variant?'"

    Beckett explained that over the course of the study, the CHARM team continues to work together like clockwork to process results efficiently and monitor participating Marines. She said that each team member is a valuable asset responsible for their role in the study.

    "As a laboratory technician, my role in CHARM is to preserve and take care of test results before they are processed at our facility in the U.S.," said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Maria Potts-Szoke, a hospital corpsman with the Naval Medical Research Center Silver Spring. "For example, when we receive a blood sample, we go through a process called peripheral blood mononuclear cell isolation to preserve the samples."

    Potts-Szoke explained that since the CHARM study began, she worked as a laboratory technician with the team. She said that she feels humbled to be a part of a team that studies the effects of COVID-19 on Marines and contributes to their research efforts.

    Through their travels around military installations, the CHARM study has successfully monitored over 800 Marines through its entirety.

    "To me, this research is so important because it is giving back to service members and will have a lasting impact on the future," said Beckett. "When we head back to the U.S., we will continue to study these results and monitor the participating Marines to continue making an impact on the studies of the effects COVID-19 has on Marines."



    Date Taken: 01.24.2022
    Date Posted: 02.01.2022 22:31
    Story ID: 413582

    Web Views: 305
    Downloads: 2