Why are we conducting this study?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a great variation in illness of individuals with COVID-19. There are differences in both severity of the COVID-19 illness as well as the presentation of signs and symptoms. There are a number of factors that may contribute to this variation in symptom and illness severity. One reason could be our genetic differences that influence our body’s response to COVID-19.

Using genetic research, we want to understand why some people get severe illness from COVID-19, while others get mild illness.

Who can participate?

Our team is recruiting individuals of all ages who have:

  • Tested positive for COVID-19, or

  • Had symptoms of COVID-19, or

  • Been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

This research will address issues relating to equity, diversity and inclusion and will ensure that patients from marginal communities have an opportunity to participate in research.

What will happen during this study?

Participants can expect the following during their study visits:

  • The research team will ask questions related to the participant’s health
  • Participants will fill out a questionnaire
  • Blood samples will be collected from all participants
  • A nasal test will be done for some participants to collect cells and perform viral tests

All personal data and samples will only be collected once an informed consent has been signed. All personal data and samples will be de-identified and protected in accordance with institutional and national laws for protection of personal health information.

This study involves genetic research, a process that involves isolating your genes from the samples we collect.

Every person has their own unique set of genes, or “genome.” Genes carry the information that helps to determine your characteristics. Genes are made up of DNA. The DNA sequence of a gene can vary slightly for every person. These differences in DNA sequence are called variants.

DNA will be extracted from participants’ blood samples. The DNA will be analyzed using a machine that determines the various building blocks within the DNA using a process called sequencing. This helps to find out if there are specific genes that are present which might be different in people who get COVID-19.

This study will also involve looking at your immune function.

Immune function is how your body protects you from infections, such as COVID-19. We will study immune function by testing your blood and respiratory samples for substances your body makes to protect you. These are called antibodies, cells and proteins. We want to study your immune function to understand why some people get more severe infection of COVID-19 than others.

Study timeline