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New family immunity study at CHEO

Researchers at CHEO are investigating why some family members do not contract COVID-19, despite living in the same house with someone who has tested positive for the virus. The study aims to help scientists better understand individual immune response, including how long it lasts.
By: Heather Marie Connors
October 07, 2020
Photo: Dr. Maala Bhatt (submitted)

The CHEO Research Institute has launched a year-long study into COVID-19 immunity within family households. Dr. Maala Bhatt, investigator and director of emergency research, says that the study will focus on what is happening with family members at a cellular level - looking for evidence of antibodies, and comparing the immune response by age and gender.

“It happens more often than you would think,” said Dr. Bhatt. “We have seen that there are households where there are positive people and negative people despite a lack of social distancing.”

Some research has suggested that children have a stronger immune response to the virus, this study will test that theory by looking for antibodies to four seasonal coronaviruses. Researchers will then be able to determine whether those antibodies provide children and their parents protection against COVID-19.

Recruitment for the study is currently underway, with the goal of enrolling 75 children and 125 adults from families where there has been a COVID-19 diagnosis in their household. Participants will donate blood four times throughout the year, and will be informed of their antibody test results.

Anyone interested in participating can e-mail COVIDimmunity@cheo.on.ca

Source: The Sudbury Star

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