Collaborative Cohort of Cohorts for COVID-19 Research (C4R) Study: Study Design

Am J Epidemiol. 2022 Jun 27;191(7):1153-1173. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwac032.


The Collaborative Cohort of Cohorts for COVID-19 Research (C4R) is a national prospective study of adults comprising 14 established US prospective cohort studies. Starting as early as 1971, investigators in the C4R cohort studies have collected data on clinical and subclinical diseases and their risk factors, including behavior, cognition, biomarkers, and social determinants of health. C4R links this pre-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) phenotyping to information on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and acute and postacute COVID-related illness. C4R is largely population-based, has an age range of 18-108 years, and reflects the racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity of the United States. C4R ascertains SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 illness using standardized questionnaires, ascertainment of COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths, and a SARS-CoV-2 serosurvey conducted via dried blood spots. Master protocols leverage existing robust retention rates for telephone and in-person examinations and high-quality event surveillance. Extensive prepandemic data minimize referral, survival, and recall bias. Data are harmonized with research-quality phenotyping unmatched by clinical and survey-based studies; these data will be pooled and shared widely to expedite collaboration and scientific findings. This resource will allow evaluation of risk and resilience factors for COVID-19 severity and outcomes, including postacute sequelae, and assessment of the social and behavioral impact of the pandemic on long-term health trajectories.

Keywords: COVID-19; cohort studies; coronavirus disease 2019; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult