PURE SARS-CoV-2: A Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) Substudy

Leong, Darryl | $2,066,870

Ontario McMaster University 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

In this study, we aim to find answers to 2 important unknowns about COVID-19: 1) We do not know if there are factors that increase the risk of people getting infected by COVID‑19 or that protect against infection; 2) What are the long-term health effects of getting infected by COVID-19. Specifically, we want to know whether having had COVID‑19 infection – even if symptoms were not severe – can lead to long-term lung damage and other complications, like pneumonia, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke. We will find these answers by studying 40,000 adults from 30 communities in 13 high-, middle- and low-income countries. These individuals have already agreed to participate in an ongoing study called the PURE study. They have already provided us with a lot of information about their health, behaviours and medications and we have performed physical measurements and tested their lung function. In this study, we propose testing the blood of these individuals for signs of COVID‑19 infection. We can then see if people who had COVID‑19 exhibited particular characteristics, such as smoking, alcohol use or low physical activity that increased their risk of getting COVID-19. Because people with bad COVID‑19 infection often get damaged lungs, we will test the lung function of participants to see if silent or mild infection lead to injured lungs as well. Finally, we will follow the study participants up for 3 years more to see whether people who had COVID‑19 infection develop late complications such as lung disease, heart or circulatory problems more often than people who did not get COVID-19. This unique study will provide information to guide us as individuals and as communities on how best to avoid getting COVID‑19 and on potential harmful long-term consequences of infection that we need to prepare for.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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