Irish researchers seeking people who avoided catching Covid-19 for study 7 months ago

Irish researchers seeking people who avoided catching Covid-19 for study

The researchers are looking for volunteers that meet "strict" criteria.

Trinity College Dublin researchers are seeking people who avoided catching Covid-19 to take part in a study.

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The research is being conducted in order to understand why certain people are naturally resistant to developing the virus.

The study's two-sided approach will focus on St James' Hospital healthcare workers and their close household contacts, as well as volunteers from the general public who did not contract Covid despite being close household contacts of individuals previously positive for the virus.

Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, principal investigator of the study Professor Cliona O'Farrelly said that many members of the public have not become infected with Covid because they have been careful.

However, she also stated she believes that certain people's innate immune system is able to "keep the virus away without becoming infected at all".

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"We're part of a huge international consortium... who are pooling volunteers who fit these very strict criteria," the professor explained.

"We're looking for people, ideally, who have resisted the virus twice - in the first wave before vaccination and more recently with the Omicron.

"Ideally, we need people whose partner was PCR-positive while they shared a room with them and they remained PCR-negative.

"So, they're quite strict selection criteria."

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She said the consortium is looking for genetic markers of resistance to infection from Covid-19.

"It means having to sequence the whole genome of the people who are resistant," she told the programme.

"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack because the human genome is so hugely variable.

"But we're anticipating that we'll see some mutations in some of the innate immune genes that give people resistance."

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Those interested in or who want more information about the study can visit its website here.