Metagenomic study on the respiratory virus profile in the community

Latest update (3 Mar 2022): In view of the recent epidemic situation, sample collection is halted until April 2022. The study period has been extended to 22 April 2022. Please be reminded that we do not offer a diagnosis report. Please consult medical advice should you feel unwell. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 after submitting the samples, kindly inform us as soon as possible.

Summary: Aiming to understand the prevalence of other upper respiratory tract viral infections under the influence of the pandemic, Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases of The Chinese University of Hong Kong is now conducting a study involving the collection of samples from individuals with influenza-like illnesses. Upon receiving your reply of intent we will send out the consent form, questionnaire and sample collection kit for self-collection. If no such illnesses develop, please collect a set of samples in April 2022. The completed questionnaire and collected samples could be delivered to the designated spot in Prince of Wales Hospital. A HKD50 cash voucher would be offered for participants.

Aim and objectives

The purpose of the study is to analyze the distributive pattern of viruses in upper airway and its relationship with influenza seasons and the COVID-19 epidemic waves. Data collected from the study would contribute to the characterization of the symptomatology of respiratory infections and exposure setting in Hong Kong.

Eligibility criteria

To enroll, participants must be:

  • of age 18 years or above,
  • without a current history of mental illnesses,
  • normally residing in Hong Kong, and
  • able to communicate in Chinese or English.

Flow of study process

* The study period is between the 16th Dec 2021 and the 22nd Apr 2022.

Please return the signed consent form within 7 days upon receipt of this letter.

We will deliver the sample collection kit to participants with prepaid delivery charge.

During the study period*, please collect a nasopharyngeal and a throat sample if you develop influenza-like illnesses such as fever, cough, runny nose, and sore throat.

Please collect a nasopharyngeal and a throat sample towards the end of the study period, i.e. April 2022, if you do not have influenza-like illnesses throughout the study period*.

Please package the collected samples as instructed and return it together with the completed questionnaire to the address overleaf.

Upon completion, a HKD50 cash voucher would be offered for participating in the study.

The Joint Chinese University of Hong Kong-New Territories East Cluster Clinical Research Ethics Committee has approved this study (Ref. No.: 2021.554) and is authorised to access the participant records related to the study for ethics review purpose.

This study only accepts eligible participants. The decision of the principal investigator is final.

This research project is supported by the Health and Medical Research Fund of Food and Health Bureau of HKSAR Government. The contents of this website include highlights of the research only. It does not represent the position of the funder or any collaborating organization. The funder is not responsible for any claims, demands, or liabilities whatsoever arising from or in connection with the use of any information contained in this pamphlet or the participation of the sponsored project.