Determining the Immune Response in Ethnic minority healthcare workers to COVID-19 infecTion

A substudy of UK-REACH

This study aims to find out whether the immune response to COVID-19 infection and vaccination is different according to ethnicity in a group of healthcare workers.

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Challenge

COVID-19 may affect ethnic minority groups more severely than those of White ethnicity and may also have affected those working in health and care settings more than the general population. The immune system is critical to the outcome of COVID-19, including protection against future infection. It is therefore very important that we establish whether immune responses to COVID-19 infection and vaccination are different in ethnic minority healthcare workers compared to White healthcare workers.

Solution

To address this gap in our understanding, DIRECT will recruit 1000 healthcare workers from Leicester and the surrounding area. These healthcare workers will be asked to complete a questionnaire which provides researchers with information about their job, their health, their ethnicity and their COVID-19 infection and vaccination status. We will then collect blood samples which will provide us with very detailed information about the participant’s immune system and how it responds to COVID-19. We can then see if there are differences in immune responses to COVID-19 by ethnicity and other demographic factors.

Outcome

DIRECT will provide novel evidence on immune responses to COVID-19 infection and vaccination and whether these differ by ethnicity. This information will be critical for understanding the underlying reasons for the unequal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ethnic minority groups and healthcare workers.