||University of Cape Town
The overall aim of this study is to characterise pre-existing antibody and T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in South African adolescents.
Aim 1: To characterise pre-existing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in unexposed South African adolescents. We need to determine whether there are pre-existing antibodies in adolescents and whether they had previous infections with other coronaviruses. Therefore, antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 and common cold coronaviruses will be measured in samples collected from adolescents (n=150; 15-19 years old) before the COVID-19 pandemic. We will compare these responses to those in adults, also using pre-pandemic samples (n=35).
Aim 2: To characterise cross-reactive T cell immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in unexposed adolescents. T cell responses may last longer than antibody responses. Studies show that pre-existing T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 are detected more often than antibody responses. Therefore, we will measure and compare T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in pre-pandemic samples collected from adolescents (n=50), and adults (n=20).
Aim 3: To compare antibody and T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 in recovered adolescents and adults. We will determine whether adolescents (n=28; 15-19 years old) have a better immune response to SARS-CoV-2 compared to adults (n=28; 20 years old) because of pre-existing immunity by comparing immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in recovered adolescents and adults.
Adolescents and Adults
The proposed study will generate important new knowledge on immunity in adolescents, who are typically understudied during this pandemic. Findings from this study will also have implications for the design of interventions, especially vaccines and community serological tests.]
TMA Career Development Fellowships