Students at the University of Toronto who live on campus or have a documented reason to attend any of the three campuses regularly are invited to participate in a study to learn whether they’ve been previously exposed to COVID-19.
Researchers from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health are hoping to test a third of eligible students between now and Dec. 22, which is the last day of the fall term. The study will measure the proportion of students who test positive for antibodies and track how this proportion changes through the winter and spring terms.
Data from the study could shed light on how events like winter or spring breaks influence COVID-19 exposure levels. It may also play a role in helping to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines once they are available.
Signing up and completing the test is simple.
To learn whether you’re eligible to take part, check your U of T student email account. If you are eligible, you’ll see an invitation from Sandy Welsh, vice-provost, students. Click on the study website to sign up and receive a finger-prick kit in the mail. Participants will receive up to $60 worth of Uber Eats gift cards.
Study participants will learn the results of their test. But Fadel cautions that a positive result doesn’t mean you can stop distancing or masking.
“The results of these tests should not alter your behaviour in any way,” says Fadel. “The presence of antibodies doesn’t necessarily mean you are immune to COVID-19 right now. We still don’t know how strong the antibody response needs to be, or how long it lasts, before an individual is immune. Please continue to protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season.”