Marines Volunteer to Defend the Country Against Enemies and COVID-19

The CHARM Study is tracking U.S. Marines for two years

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They volunteered to defend the United States against enemies, both foreign and domestic. For hundreds of U.S. Marines, that includes COVID-19.

The Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland is currently conducting a two-year CHARM Study: COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines on board Camp Pendleton.

“This particular study is really focused on some of the long-term effects on some of these Marines who did and did not get COVID-19,” said lead investigator CDR Andrew Latizia, M.D. “We want to understand how an individual Marine’s body is able to fight off some of these new and emerging variants.”

The infectious disease doctor said they’ve learned the antibodies produced after the Marines contracted the virus were mostly effective at staving off future infections.

“That being said, we’ve also proven that these Marines can certainly infect others, even if they don’t exhibit symptoms,” added CDR Latizia.

He said hundreds of Marines have undergone several tests at least six times since the study began a year ago. Latizia said they will track the same Marines through May of 2022.

“Images of their heart, an EKG to understand the rate and the rhythm of their heart, neurologic grip strength testing,” he listed.

“We’ve been very fortunate that our group of young, healthy Marines tend to have very good outcomes universally,” Dr. Latizia added.

Initial findings have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal.

The Naval Medical Research Center has followed this group of Marines since they arrived at Boot Camp on board Parris Island last year.

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