CHEO Research COVID-19 study will test families for immunity


Ottawa, Ontario — Wednesday October 7, 2020

With the spike in testing numbers in the last few weeks, many families learned first hand that COVID-19 testing with children and youth is a stressful experience. Researchers at CHEO are asking families where at least one member of the household has tested positive for COVID-19 to enroll in a research study to understand who within a household has developed an immunity. Their stressful experience could lead to scientific discoveries. Our team has been featured in the Ottawa Citizen and on CBC Radio Ottawa Morning.
“It happens more often than you would think,” said Dr. Maala Bhatt, Investigator at the CHEO Research Institute and Director of Emergency Research at CHEO. “We want families who have gone through the experience of a household member testing positive to help us move our understanding of how immunity to COVID-19 is developed.”
This study will advance the understanding of how antibodies develop in response to COVID-19 infection. Antibodies may be a key element of protection to COVID-19 and can provide insight into how the virus may spread within households. The team has partnered with regional and provincial public health agencies. Results from this study will be essential to inform key decisions regarding the relaxation of physical distancing rules that impact children and their families.
“We have heard of a household of two parents and three kids, where only one parent and two children tested positive for the virus,” continued Dr. Bhatt. “It is possible, however, that all of the household members have developed immunity, or perhaps there are key factors that influence who becomes immune.  Enrolling households with one or more positive COVID-19 cases into our study will help us determine what makes someone immune to the virus and how long the immunity may last.”
The study will include children and/or adults who have tested positive for COVID-19 along with their household members who may or may not have a confirmed infection. All participants will have blood tests at 4 time-points over 12-months to look for antibodies specific to the virus causing COVID-19. All study participants will be informed of their antibody results. The study team is looking for 75 children and 125 adults who have had a known COVID-19 infection. They hope to enroll all household members, but, at minimum, two members must enroll, and one must be under 18 to be eligible. Participation in this study is voluntary.
For more information on the study, or if you are looking to enroll, please email [email protected]

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