On-Campus Students: Learn Whether You’ve Been Exposed to COVID
Calling on all U of T students who live on campus or have a documented reason to attend any of the three campuses regularly. You are invited to participate in a critical study to learn whether you have been previously exposed to COVID-19.
Researchers from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) are hoping to test a third of the eligible students between now and Dec. 22, the last day of the Fall Term. Participants will receive up to $60 worth of Uber Eats gift cards.
“This study will help researchers and public health leaders to understand how much COVID is being spread over time on university campuses,” says Prof. France Gagnon, DLSPH’s associate dean of research and a co-investigator on the study. “Students will have a chance to make a major contribution to the science around the changing nature of risk in an adult student population.”
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 Prof. Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost of Students. Click on the study website to sign up and receive a finger prick kit in the mail.
“It’s easy and quick to use the kit, and we only need a few drops of your blood to detect
antibodies to learn whether you’ve been exposed to the virus causing COVID-19,” says Asst. Prof. Shaza Fadel, a public health expert with DLSPH who is running the study. “Antibodies are proteins that your body produces at least a week after being exposed, to fight off foreign invaders like viruses.”
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.”
To learn more about the study, entitled “The U of T Student Cohort 2020-2021: A Pandemic Study,” please visit the website.