To combat a disease, suitable diagnostic tests and therapeutic measures/drugs must be developed. The basis for combating the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a sound characterization of its causes and disease progression. Our immune system is the main line of defense against a viral infection and source of sustainable immunity to a new infection. We have set up the “COVID-19-Genesenen-Studie” (COVID-19 convalescent study) to collect the best documented, high-quality blood specimens and data material (questionnaires) and make it available for COVID-19 research. Our study protocol as well as the accompanying ethics application have been examined and approved by the responsible ethics committee (EC number: 32-423 ex 19/20). At the start of the pandemic, it was important and urgent to clarify whether all people infected with SARS-CoV-2 form antibodies against the virus, how long specific antibodies can be detected in the blood and if they are able to protect against reinfection. Over the course of the study, new questions have arisen about disease progression, severity, less noticeable (long-term) symptoms or protective mechanisms (e.g., influence of blood group or antibodies in convalescent saliva). Researchers at our university use frozen serum from study participants as the control serum while testing new active ingredients that hinder virus particles from entering host cells. These active ingredients should have an effect similar to that of blocking antibodies from the serum of former COVID-19 patients.
We will also publish a short description of all conducted studies and study findings in condensed form on the Biobank Graz website immediately following their publication in scientific journals.