Human Subjects Research during COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) national emergency and pandemic, research activities involving human participants have been subject to additional requirements in order to protect human research participants and researchers.  In March 2020, Iowa State University enacted restrictions prohibiting face-to-face research activities.  Beginning July 15, 2020, Iowa State implemented a phased approach to safely resume research that requires face-to-face interactions with research participants.  

The wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines reduces risks to vaccinated human subjects and researchers. Federal, state and university agencies have updated their guidance to reflect this current state. Accordingly, restrictions on face-to-face human subjects research have been lifted

Researchers should continue to prioritize the health and safety of volunteer human participants and research staff when deciding how to conduct research.  Additionally, researchers must:

  1. Follow all applicable Iowa State COVID-19 policies and those of any off-campus sites involved in the research.  

  2. Inform potential human subjects of COVID-19 risk and expectations using the most current version of the Research Participant COVID-19 Information Sheet, also available en espanol.  This document includes key details about COVID-19 vaccination policies and disclosure limitations, face covering expectations, etc.  It will be updated as needed to reflect current information.

Researchers must ensure their lab/staff practices align with information sheet content.