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IU School of Medicine researchers launch statewide COVID-19 immunity study

coronavirus antibodies covid-19

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana University School of Medicine researchers are launching a new study today to find out how immunity to COVID-19 can develop and change over time in children and adults who live in Indiana.

The study is called DISCOVER, which stands for “Development of Immunity after SARS-CoV2 Exposure and Recovery.” Led by Chandy John, MD, and Alka Khaitan, MD, the study will look at four different 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

“By comparing people who have varying levels of symptoms and exposure to COVID-19, we’ll be able to get a better understanding of how immunity originates and how long it can last,” said John, Ryan White Professor of Pediatrics at IU School of Medicine. “We want to look at immune responses in both children and adults, because understanding the development of immunity in both groups is important to guiding vaccine development, and to understanding how the virus spreads in the community, even in those without symptoms.”

People who participate in the study will be asked to provide four blood samples over the next two years, giving the study team multiple opportunities to see how immunity changes with time. They will also be asked to give a brief medical history, including any chronic medical conditions, as well as to disclose whether they work as a health care worker or first responder.

The participants will find out the results of each of their antibody tests, as well as be paid $25 for each blood draw. Blood samples and data will be collected via the Indiana Biobank study to test for antibodies and other immunity markers.

“We also want to find out if people who never had symptoms of COVID-19 can still develop antibodies or other immune responses to the virus,” said Khaitan, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at IU School of Medicine. “And we want to learn if immunity to COVID-19 lasts over the two-year time period.”

While people from across the state are being invited to take part in the study, they must be able to travel to Indianapolis to provide each blood sample. To find out more information or to volunteer as a participant, visit the All IN for Health website

Update June 17, 2020: this study has filled the first round of participants. If you’d like to receive messages and updates on new COVID-19 studies as they become available, please visit All IN for Health and complete a volunteer profile.

IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability. 

Studying immunity to COVID-19