SYDNEY, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Amid a severe lack of understanding as to how children react to COVID-19, Australian researchers launched a new study on Tuesday in an attempt to answer the many questions of concerned parents around the world.
The COVID Immune research program, launched by Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, involves 2,000 Australian children as well as a large group of adults for comparison to investigate whether children's vulnerability to COVID-19 differs due to their immune system.
While participants will not be deliberately exposed to the virus, researchers hope to get a comprehensive picture of how COVID-19 affects families by collecting a broad range of data as the pandemic runs its course.
"We also plan to answer the nagging question of how long children and adults stay immune to the virus and look at the psychosocial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic -- on things like health, life changes, behavior and emotions in children and their families," associate Professor Kirsten Perrett from MCRI said.
All of the children taking part in the study have previously participated in research programs with MCRI and its partners, giving the team extensive biological samples and immune data collected before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Researchers will ask participating families to use a weekly online disease symptom tracker, to complete psychological wellbeing surveys and may require them to provide samples for the COVID-19 virus and antibody analysis as well.
In return, the program will provide participating children and their families a unique chance to further understand disease features and progression, transmission within families and long-term effects of COVID-19 on children.