HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — A High Point nurse who was directly exposed to COVID is now taking part in a genetic study to better understand the virus. 

“This is how we come up with cures and treatments for diseases. This is what we have to do, so I hope people will want to participate just like I have,” said Nurse Anesthetist Bevin Strickland.  

Strickland is one of about 700 people taking part in a long-term study with Rockefeller University.  

FOX8 first spoke with the mother of three when she worked long hours as a volunteer at Mount Sinai Queens in 2020 with COVID patients. 

“I was very dramatically exposed when I took care of patients in Queens during the initial outbreak, had droplets on my face, took off my mask a lot so that patients could see my face and not be scared and allow us to take care of them and not fight us, so I know I was exposed,” she explained. 

She tested negative for the virus and antibodies that could have shown a prior, asymptomatic infection. 

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Strickland said. 

She avoided illness again after a second close contact after returning. 

“I have twin sons. One of them had got COVID. His brother and I were around him at a very close living quarters, and we didn’t get it, and this was before they were able to get vaccinated,” Strickland said.  

Novant Health’s Chief Epidemiology Officer says some people are genetically more predisposed to resisting infection. 

“I think the key for researchers is to look at on…a very small, microscopic level, how does the virus interact with the cells in that person’s body. If it interacts not very effectively, what it is it about those cells that prevents the virus from getting in, and how can that information be translated to therapies or preventative efforts,” Dr. David Priest said. 

Strickland has already submitted a saliva sample and met with researchers by Zoom. 

“The kind of work that is involved in this kind of research is overwhelming to even think of. I’m really glad that we have people out there that can do this and want to do it,” she said.  

A spokesperson for Rockefeller University says researchers are assessing approximately 5,000 more people who reached out to take part in the study.