How Can I Help?

COVID-19 Vaccine Research


Volunteer for a COVID-19 Vaccine at UTMBHelp our scientists in their efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Our Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences is recruiting healthy volunteers ages 18-85 for a COVID-19 vaccine study. Participants must be available for about 7 scheduled visits over 24 mos. 

Every modern vaccine and medicine we have today was studied in hundreds to thousands of people before becoming available to the public. Involving people from all backgrounds  improves the development of any vaccine for everyone. Joining a clinical trial is an important and personal decision. We hope it is one you will consider.

Interested? Call 409-772-5278 or 832-340-2313, or email

Healthy Families and Community

Keep Yourself Healthy

First, one major way to help is to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy and out of our care. Most have heard about “flattening the curve.” The fewer people that get sick at once, the better we’ll be able to manage this crisis. So wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay home as much as you can. Listen to the guidance and instructions from your local government and public health officials.

Get more information on staying well online

Help Each Other

The negative impact on families, businesses, jobs and livelihoods caused by the pandemic is unprecedented, and still evolving. People, even healthy ones, need help. Consider supporting local restaurants who are offering takeout, buy gift certificates to businesses that are temporarily closed. Reach out to local social service agencies to find ways to safely support their efforts.

Go online to explore ways to put your time and/or dollars to help.

Give Life


Give Blood

There’s not enough blood in the best of times, and there’s always a critical shortage during a regional emergency like a hurricane. You can imagine what happens to the supply when the crisis is global like this pandemic, and the way we are mitigating it is to tell people to stay home. But the need for blood never goes away, and hospitals like ours always have a need. There is no substitute.

To donate blood, contact one of UTMB Health’s regional blood partners, such as the MD Anderson Cancer Center Blood Bank

Local blood centers are taking special precautions to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Many, like MD Anderson, are scheduling appointments for donations and have eliminated walk-up donations or waiting in line outside a donor coach.

Give “Convalescent Plasma”

People who have recovered from COVID-19 – those who previously tested positive and now have no symptoms and test negative – have built up high levels of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) that defended their body against the virus. Collecting plasma from a recovered individual and then injecting it into a person still fighting the virus could help stimulate a stronger immune response in the sick individual. Plasma transfusions are generally safe and tolerated well by most patients, but the therapy has not been tested for effectiveness against COVID-19.

However, the FDA has recently allowed for the “emergency use” of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as an investigational therapy. This approval is not for a clinical trial, but provides a potential additional treatment option for critically ill patients.

More about Convalescent Plasma Donations

Make a Donation

The outpouring of support from our local communities has been heartwarming and awe-inspiring. While our caregivers and other team members are on the frontline in the battle against this coronavirus, they are strengthened by the encouragement and extraordinary support of those we serve.


Donations of Food

Many area restaurants and businesses, victims themselves of the COVID-19 crisis, have very generously offered meals to our various teams. Thank you, we are grateful. We just ask that any gifts of food be individually wrapped and identified, or items must be boxed or bagged together. For more information, please send an email to


Donations of Love

We love the cards, notes, drawings by kids. Consider sending them in electronically, to keep your family indoors and reduce the risk of spreading the virus via paper. Share with us at and we will post for our staff to enjoy.


PPE and other Medical Supplies

The national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has made headlines. We’ve being very judicious with how we are using our stocked PPE. We’ve been fortunate to have had individuals and businesses share PPE supplies with us, and have set up a process at the Galveston Campus and at the Clear Lake Campus to receive donated PPE, catalog it and distribute to needed sites. For more information, please send an email to


Donations of DIY PPE

The internet has come alive with an army of incredible do-it-yourselfers who are putting their time, talent, sewing machines and crafting skills to good use creating DIY surgical masks, caps, face shields and more. The support and concern for our UTMB healthcare team, and other caregivers around the country, is empowering.

We’ve spoken with those coordinating our COVID response, and right now, UTMB still has adequate supplies and is not using DIY products in our healthcare setting (that could change at some point in the future). In the meantime, there are many volunteer groups engaged in activities such as delivering food that could use support and make use of some of these products. Please consider contacting your local United Way, Salvation Army, or other support agencies about the donation of DIY masks and similar products.

Support the Science

Help fund our research

A recent headline in the Houston Chronicle posed an intriguing question: "UTMB once helped defeat Ebola. Can it replicate that success with coronavirus?"

It's an urgent priority. Every day, the number of COVID-19 infections continues to grow and the death toll continues to mount.

At UTMB, we're hard at work on a solution. UTMB's research talent is at the forefront of the global fight against infectious diseases, including this newest coronavirus.

COVID-19As one of only two laboratories of its kind in the United States, our Galveston National Laboratory was established in 2009 to provide advanced research on and develop countermeasures against the world's worst infectious diseases. Throughout the lab, UTMB researchers are attacking the virus on several fronts:

  • We're hard at work on a vaccine.
  • We're developing a better test that can detect asymptomatic carriers of the disease.
  • And we've devised a tool for rapid evaluation of the antibody-inducing capabilities of potential vaccines, reducing the time it takes to get a vaccine to market.

But that work is resource intensive. Without philanthropic support from dedicated individuals, life-saving advances like these are elusive.

We know many are facing trying times. Lives have been upended. Livelihoods have been compromised, and communities have been torn apart.

If you can, please consider investing in a solution and helping us restore hope.

Contact US

Have a question or suggestion for us?

Contact our UTMB COVID-19 Community Outreach Team at

Together, we’ll WORK WONDERS to get through this.
Thank you.

Thank You

Thank You to our Neighborhood Heroes

It takes a village, and our village has been incredible! We've seen an outpouring of support, encouragement and donations from individuals, small local businesses and large organizations. Thank you. Your support fuels and inspires us.

COVID-19 General FAQs


  • What is COVID-19

    Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus, now known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

    While COVID-19 causes only mild illness in some infected individuals, it may cause serious lower respiratory infection leading to hospitalization and even death.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this factsheet highlighting important information you should know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-10).

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • How do I help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if I am sick?
    • Stay home unless you need medical care
    • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
    • Call ahead before visiting a clinic
    • Wear a mask
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Clean your hands often
    • Avoid sharing personal household items
    • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day
    • Monitor your symptoms

    Last modified on 3/10/2020

  • Can I get tested for the coronavirus? What’s the process?

    Patients with symptoms of respiratory illness, including cough, fever or shortness of breath, can schedule online or contact the UTMB Health Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.

    • Patients should follow recommendations for testing, self-isolation and management of symptoms.
    • Any patient experiencing a worsening of symptoms—particularly shortness of breath—a few days after first becoming ill should contact the Access Center IMMEDIATELY. To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • You may also wish to check with your local county health officials for testing available through local government. In Galveston County, Health District testing information is online.

    Please note: Our process and procedures may be updated as the COVID-19 situation develops in our region.

    Last modified on 10/16/2020

  • How long does the virus remain active on inanimate objects, such as clothing, currency, coins, and hard surfaces such as countertops and door handles?

    This is one of the topics that remains under study; it's still not certain exactly how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (at one point nine days was mentioned, which the latest studies suggest may be unlikely). Survival of the virus will vary under different conditions, including type of surface, temperature, humidity and moisture, exposure to sunlight, and other factors.

    If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. 

    Last modified on 3/14/2020

  • How to protect yourself
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

    If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • How does COVID-19 spread?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may spread in the United States.

    The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • Can COVID-19 spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects?

    It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

    The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

    Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
    • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
    • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • If someone has minor symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, can they be isolated at home instead of a hospital?

    At this time, patients testing positive for COVID-19 who have mild symptoms, are not over age 60 and do not have an underlying medical condition are advised to isolate at home. If a patient with COVID-19 is concerned, begins to experience shortness of breath, starts feeling worse a week or so into the illness, is over age 60 or has an underlying medical condition, they are strongly encouraged to call their doctor or the UTMB Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020