December 7, 2020

Researchers Launch Statewide COVID-19 Immunity Study

IU School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine

A new study at the Indiana University School of Medicine hopes to find out how immunity to COVID-19 develops and changes over time.

The study is called DISCOVER, which stands for “Development of Immunity after SARS-CoV2 Exposure and Recovery.”

IU Associate Professor Alka Khaitan is a leader of the 2-year study and said its goals are to measure how immunity develops and if it lasts.

“We know if we check antibody levels in people who had COVID they seem to decrease after a few months, but we don’t know if that actually means that they're not immune anymore, because there might be other parts of the immune system that might be protecting them,” Khaitan said.

The study will look at four groups of individuals:

  • People who have had symptoms of COVID-19, and tested positive for the disease.
  • People who have had symptoms of COVID-19, but tested negative or were not tested.
  • People who did not have symptoms of COVID-19, but have been exposed to the disease.
  • People who did not have symptoms of COVID-19, and have not been exposed to the disease.

Researchers also hope to study a diverse cross-section of our population.  Khaitan said that includes age diversity.

“We believe it’s really important to study children, because there’s not a lot of data on them out there," Khaitan said. "And while they don’t seem to develop as severe infection, they certainly can get infected and have severe disease.”

Khaitan said the study should also include more people of color.

“Historically they are not always included, or volunteer as often, or targeted for recruitment in research studies, and we think it’s really important to include them,” Khaitan said.

People who participate in the study will be asked to provide four blood samples over the next two years. Participants must be able to travel to Indianapolis to provide each blood sample.

To learn more or volunteer as a participant, visit the All IN for Health website.


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