Mendy McNulty prepares test swabs for shipping after her family did a twice-weekly coronavirus test at home. (AP)

Mendy McNulty prepares test swabs for shipping after her family did a twice-weekly coronavirus test at home. (AP)

Mrs. McNulty swabs the nose of her nine year-old son Hudson. (AP)

Mrs. McNulty swabs the nose of her nine year-old son Hudson. (AP)

Hang tight! The family is doing testing twice each month to help answer questions about the coronavirus. (AP)

Hang tight! The family is doing testing twice each month to help answer questions about the coronavirus. (AP)

The whole McNulty family gets tested, even the adults. (AP)

The whole McNulty family gets tested, even the adults. (AP)

Scientists are using the results of the McNultys and other’s tests to seek answers about the safety of greater reopening for daily life. (AP)

Scientists are using the results of the McNultys and other’s tests to seek answers about the safety of greater reopening for daily life. (AP)

Family Science Project

Posted: November 1, 2020

The boys wrinkle their noses and rub their eyes. “It feels a little weird, and it kind of hurts,” says seven-year-old Andrew McNulty. He and his brother Hudson, along with their parents, are part of a science project. They are helping researchers understand COVID-19 better.

The McNulty family is participating in a large research study. There are 2,000 families in 11 U.S. cities taking part.

Twice each month, each person’s nose gets swabbed. Each week, everyone answers these questions: “How are you feeling?” and “Have you been out in the community lately?”

There is much that scientists need to learn about the coronavirus. They want to know how the virus travels between people. They need to figure out how to keep kids at daycares and schools safe.

Tina Hartert is a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University. She’s a lead researcher in the study. She says each family does its own “sampling.” That means they test themselves.  “A kit arrives at their doorstep, and all of the supplies are in these kits.”

What do you think of this for a family science project? Participants take their own blood samples. (Of course, Andrew and Hudson’s mom does this for them.) Mendy McNulty explains how it’s done. A little button goes on the side of the arm. When it’s pressed, blood flows into a collection tube. The whole process takes about two minutes.

Mrs. McNulty is happy to share her family’s information for the study. She hopes her family will help scientists answer questions like “How many kids and teens in the United States are infected with the coronavirus?” and “How likely is the virus to spread?”

By taking part in the COVID-19 home study, the McNulty family is helping others. Isaiah 41:6 says, “Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, ‘Be strong!’”

Just like his mom, nine-year-old Hudson doesn’t mind the pricks and swipes. He thinks the twice-a-month nasal test actually “sort of tickles.”