The National Institutes of Health will fund a study that will monitor potential Zika virus exposure of U.S. Olympic Committee athletes, coaches and personnel who will participate at the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil.
NIH said Tuesday the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will provide funds for research on how and where the virus persists in the body and on potential risk factors that drive the infection.
“Monitoring the health and reproductive outcomes of members of the U.S. Olympic team offers a unique opportunity to answer important questions and help address an ongoing public health emergency,” said Catherine Spong, NICHD acting director.
NIH noted USOC has also formed an Infectious Disease Advisory Group to support the U.S. Olympic team before they travel to Brazil.
“We partnered with the USOC to improve knowledge of the dynamics of Zika infection, so that we can better protect the health of athletes and staff who will participate in the 2016 Games,” said Carrie Byington, IDAG chairperson and NIH study lead from the University of Utah.
IDAG will supply educational materials and give briefings to the estimated 3,000 USOC staff members who will head to Brazil for the events, NIH added.
Staff members who are interested to participate in the study will be asked to enroll in the program, fill in health surveys and provide bodily fluid samples.