Anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence study: we need you!
ULiège is going to carry out a very large-scale epidemiological study in its community. Objective: to define and, above all, to establish the conditions for decontamination and a return to normal life.
The University of Liège has provided Belgium with one of the largest PCR testing capacities in the world and was a pioneer in the development of a massive testing model.
« This model is now internationally recognised as the best for monitoring and containing the spread of the virus. All these actions have saved, according to epidemiologists, several thousand lives », explains Professor Fabrice Bureau Vice-Rector for Research and responsible together with Professor Laurent Gillet and Dr. Gilles Darcis (University Hospital, CHU of Liège) for this seroprevalence study.
« However, we still have an essential mission for which we need your help. This mission consists in defining and, above all, gathering the conditions for decontamination and return to a normal life. »
Measuring the presence of antibodies
For several months, a multidisciplinary group of researchers from ULiège has been developing a unique dashboard that takes into account a large number of variables and that will make it possible to define the decontamination conditions for a given group (members of ULiège, for example). These variables must be measured in the target population on a very regular basis. "It is at this stage that we need you! Most of the members of the university community will have the opportunity to participate in a study that is unique in the world, which aims in particular to determine what proportion of people have antibodies against the coronavirus", says Professor Fabrice Bureau.
A two-phase study
This very large-scale epidemiological study will involve 2,500 volunteers: 1,000 staff members and 1,500 students. It consists of two phases. The first phase of the study aims to collect the results of weekly saliva tests from each participant and, once a month, the results of a blood self-test. If either of these tests is positive, the participant will be invited to participate in phase 2. If a participant is vaccinated against covid-19 in the first phase, he or she will also be invited to participate in phase 2 (a gargle to identify and preserve the virus and two blood tests).
The volunteers will also be followed by a team from the ULiège’s Public Health Department who will answer their questions and collect information on the other variables included in thedashboard, including vaccine hesitancy.
"Thanks to this study, which will be carried out in parallel on other cohorts (front-line hospital staff, immunocompromised patients and patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease), we hope to be able to define the conditions under which decontamination is possible," adds Professor Fabrice Bureau.
If you are part of the target group, you will soon receive an invitation by email detailing the procedure to follow. "We are counting on you to participate, in a new spirit of solidarity, in one of the most ambitious epidemiological studies in the world and to help us to scientifically define the way to return to a normal life!"
Recruitment and follow-up of participant