COVID-19 Self-Testing Through Rapid Network Distribution (C-STRAND)

  • End date
    Mar 31, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Pennsylvania
Updated on 29 May 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


COVID-19, the coronavirus disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), has led to a global pandemic and has exacerbated existing health inequities among vulnerable populations. Despite higher rates of COVID-19 in Black and Latinx individuals compared to White individuals, rates of testing in predominately non-White, low-income communities are significantly lower than in high-income areas. Self-testing, where individuals collect their own samples, is now feasible for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. One promising approach to increase test uptake is the secondary distribution of self-testing kits, where an individual distributes tests to contacts in their social network and encourages them to self-test.

The central hypothesis of this clinical trial is that the secondary distribution of SARS-CoV-2 self-tests can significantly expand test uptake among underserved populations. To test this hypothesis, the investigators will conduct a 1:1 randomized controlled trial that will assess a self-testing intervention that promotes the secondary distribution of SARS-CoV-2 test kits compared with test referrals, with a focus on reaching underserved populations.


Strategies to rapidly disseminate COVID-19 testing are urgently needed, particularly to address increasing health disparities among underserved communities. One promising approach to increase test uptake is the secondary distribution of self-tests, where an individual distributes test kits to contacts in their social network and encourages them to self-test. By decentralizing testing, this approach does not require individuals to have contact with medical systems, and can lower potential barriers to obtaining testing. This approach can increase case detection by facilitating testing among exposed individuals, and potentially ameliorate stigma, fear, and medical mistrust associated with COVID-19 among vulnerable populations because the testing process is decentralized.

The investigators will conduct a 1:1 randomized controlled trial randomizing individuals to receive either multiple self-test kits to distribute within their social circles, or referrals for standard clinic-based tests. All study participants will be offered testing upon enrollment. Study participants, deemed "Index Participants," will be randomized to receive multiple self-testing kits (intervention) or test referral cards and text messages (control) to encourage individuals in their social networks, deemed "network contacts" to test. Participants will complete a baseline evaluation and a follow-up evaluation at 8 weeks. We will measure network contact test uptake in both study arms. The central hypothesis of this trial is that distribution of self-test kits will increase test uptake compared with distribution of test referrals.

Condition Covid19
Treatment COVID-19 self-test, COVID-19 test referral
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04797858
SponsorUniversity of Pennsylvania
Last Modified on29 May 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

years of age or older
Has a working telephone number
Willing and able to provide informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Younger than 18 years of age
Does not have a working telephone number
Prior COVID-19 infection in the past 90 days
Previously received a COVID-19 test as part of this COVID-19 research study
Unable or unwilling to provide informed consent
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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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