By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - January 26, 2021
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers are taking a closer look at how COVID-19 is impacting our community and they need your help. They are asking Hillsborough County residents to participate in a study evaluating the percentage of the population that has developed antibodies to COVID-19.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system when it is infected with a virus or pathogen. They help your body neutralize or destroy what is causing the illness, and act as a memory system to trigger an immune response should your body be introduced to the same pathogen again. People who have developed COVID-19 antibodies have at least some immunity to the virus, which is critical to track in order to overcome this global pandemic.
“It is important to note that the goal of our study is not to identify who has had or been exposed to COVID-19 during the pandemic. We are determining the number of residents who have developed immunity to the coronavirus. We can use the information to evaluate the effectiveness of public health measures, monitor trends in the development of immunity and identify high-risk populations in our area,” said Dr. Anna Giuliano, lead investigator for the study and founding director of Moffitt’s Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer.
The study is recruiting 1,200 Hillsborough County residents 18 and older. Participants must be healthy at the time of the study. Those who have received the COVID vaccine are not eligible for the study. Each person will be asked to complete a web-based questionnaire assessing their health and possible exposure to the virus, and they will have their blood drawn to measure if COVID-19 antibodies are present. If antibodies are present, the participant will be asked to complete two follow-up visits.
If you are interested in participating in the study, click here to complete an eligibility questionnaire or call 813-745-6996.