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You Can Contribute to COVID-19 Immunity Research

Join in the Serimmune COVID-19 Study to help scientists understand the immune response to the virus.

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What and Why

Our goal is to understand differences in personal immune response to infection by the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2. Each individual makes their own unique set of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, and in this study we will investigate how these differences may be important for immunity, the duration of immunity, and for severity of symptoms.

How it Works

Enroll in the Study

To participate, you must meet the eligibility criteria, watch the consent video above and provide written consent by signing the Study Consent Form on DocuSign.

Answer Health Surveys

For every sample you provide, you will answer a short questionnaire about your health and medical history.

 

To protect your privacy, your medical information will be kept separate from any personal identifiers, and this information will not be shared with outside parties.

Provide a Blood Sample

Every 6 months we will mail you a sample collection kit, which you will use to collect your blood at home. Then you simply mail the sample to our lab in the pre-paid box provided.

Get Your COVID-19 Antibodies Report

Your blood sample will be analyzed in our laboratory and tested for antibodies against the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2.

 

For every sample you provide, you will receive a personalized report showing your unique antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 based on our technology, Serum Epitope Repertoire Analysis (SERA).

Additional Panels

In addition to the report on your antibodies against COVID-19, you also have the option of receiving an additional report on your antibody response against 5 Infectious Diseases (Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Chagas Disease) and a marker of Celiac Disease (Deamidated Gliadin).

If you are interested in this additional report, you will need to complete the following:

  • New participants: You will have the option to opt-in when you answer the initial health survey.
  • Current participants: The option to opt-in is located on your personal profile page, on the study portal.

We Are Grateful for Your Participation In Our Study!

We are excited to share with you some of the scientific findings we are gathering on the immune response to SARS-CoV-2.

See the Data

About Serimmune’s COVID-19 Research

Researchers at Serimmune have mapped antibody specificities in SARS-CoV-2 infections back to their target epitopes. We have identified novel immune responses which may one day assist in the development of novel vaccines and therapeutics for this and other viruses.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Report

It will take approximately 4-6 weeks to receive your report once your sample arrives at our laboratory. Once your report is generated, you will receive an email with instructions for viewing your report.

A low antibody score does not mean that you do not have immunity to the virus. Antibodies are only one of several components that play a role in immunity. Even if your level of antibodies is not detectable by our tests, your antibody response is stored in your body and will be reactivated if you are exposed to the virus again. Additionally, although we use more than one test to measure SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, no test is 100% accurate.

The COVID vaccine targets an area of the SARS-CoV-2 virus called Spike glycoprotein. The natural infection score is determined by looking for antibodies to proteins that are not targeted by the vaccine (areas other than Spike glycoprotein). Some people do not make as many antibodies to these other proteins, so their response looks more like vaccination. Other people initially make antibodies to these other proteins, but they disappear more rapidly than antibodies to the Spike glycoprotein, so over time their response looks more like vaccination than natural infection.

We have been using the Delta variant for one of our tests and this may underestimate your antibody response to the Omicron variant. We have recently switched to using the Omicron variant for testing in order to ensure we are providing our participants with the most accurate results about their response to the circulating variant.

When our lab receives your sample, we run an IgG test first as it is the most informative test for our clinical study. The acute infection score is determined by running an IgM test. If there is not enough serum from your sample for the IgM test, our lab will report the score as N/A. Very few people in our clinical study are positive on the acute score, and rather than having you provide a second sample, we opted for an N/A result in the cases where there is insufficient sample volume to run both IgG and IgM.

Yes, we are very happy to collect another sample from you if you have received a booster shot. You can request another sample kit by emailing us at the address below. Please include the date you received the booster shot along with the maker. To allow enough time for changes to occur in your antibody response, we ask that you wait 2 weeks following your booster shot to collect another sample.

In order to calculate your total antibody score, our technology measures the amount of different antibodies you have to the virus based on the peptide motifs in our library to which the antibodies bind. These motifs mimic the natural binding sites of the antibodies in SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins. The amount of each motif is an approximation of the amount of each antibody present in your blood. We also use a conventional serology test, called an ELISA, which measures the amount of antibodies you have to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein receptor binding domain (RBD). From these tests we calculate a composite score which indicates whether you have made antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 from either vaccination or natural infection.

The value of the score may be influenced by many factors which may include: your age, how recently you were exposed or received the vaccine, whether you are taking any medicine that may compromise your immune system and, if you were naturally infected, the severity of your illness. We do not know how long a detectable immune response lasts. That is one of the primary aims of our study. If the antibodies in your blood decrease over time, or even if they become undetectable by our tests, this does not necessarily mean that you are no longer immune to the virus. Another goal of our study is to determine whether people become infected at some point after vaccination and whether that correlates with a decline in antibodies.

People that have been naturally infected with SARS-CoV-2 make antibodies to multiple different proteins contained in the virus. People who are vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2, however, will only make antibodies to the spike glycoprotein present in the vaccine. Our test can distinguish natural infection from vaccination by measuring an individuals’ antibodies to peptide motifs from SARS-CoV-2 proteins other than the spike glycoprotein. We have provided this score for people in case they wondered whether they had been naturally infected with COVID-19 during a previous illness, but had never been tested, or if people suspect that they might have COVID-19 whether or not they previously received a vaccine.

Occasionally, people who are naturally infected may have a weak response to non-spike proteins and their immune response may look more like a vaccinated person’s response. Additionally, people who were exposed several months previously may have a declining antibody response to the full virus and a subsequent vaccination may selectively enhance the antibody response to spike proteins. In these individuals, the response may also look more like vaccination than natural infection. The majority of the time, we can distinguish these two states.

Our test measures two different antibody isotypes present in the blood, IgG and IgM. The acute infection score is calculated by specifically measuring IgM antibodies in the blood. These particular IgM antibodies were detected in people with natural infection and are not present in people who have been vaccinated and so they are specific to infection. IgM antibodies are generally the first type to appear after infection and they are also the first to decline. The IgM antibody response varies amongst individuals and with the type of infection. For some types of infections, the IgM response can be prolonged for many months or even longer. From our studies in people naturally infected with COVID-19, the IgM response lasts for several months, however we have limited long term data. In this study, we hope to gain a better understanding about the kinetics of the IgM response to COVID-19.

There are two reasons why you may receive an acute antibody score of N/A

  1. The acute antibody test will not be run on individuals who have been vaccinated as they generally already have an antibody response due to vaccination; therefore, the acute antibody test will result as a weak score or negative score.
  2. If you were NOT vaccinated and your acute antibody test score is N/A, it is because there was not a sufficient amount of blood to run all of our tests. When this happens, we do not run the acute test.

We have screened over 500 COVID-19 cases spanning all disease severities and mapped the detected antibody specificities within each group. These maps showed that people with mild disease have fewer distinct antibody specificities compared with moderate and severe disease. Each person’s antibody response is unique, and the number or relative abundance of an individual’s antibodies doesn’t indicate greater or lesser immunity to the virus. Because of this unique and heterogeneous response, it is not possible to show a heat map of an average antibody response for any severity category. Instead, for each column, we are depicting the range of antibodies that we have identified within each disease severity category, or within vaccinated individuals.

There are some antibodies that are found at the same level across all groups, whereas other are present almost exclusively in moderate and/or severe COVID-19 cases. Within each of these columns, the darker the box, the more prevalent and/or more enriched that antibody species is in that severity group. We have provided these columns for reference and as the study progresses, we hope to understand whether the differences we have observed in our studies are representative of the larger population.

The primary value of the heat map for an individual is to visualize how your personal antibody response changes over time. For example, do some antibodies decrease while others remain? Does your global antibody response remain high for months or years? Does revaccination result in a greater boost of pre-existing immunity than was observed in the initial vaccination? Do people who get COVID-19 after having been previously naturally exposed or vaccinated have less severe cases overall?

We continually work to provide results that are meaningful to our participants and reflect the continuous change in your immune response. To that end, we always apply the latest data analysis algorithms to all of your data points (from your first sample to your current sample), so your most recent report will reflect the latest analysis method across all of your samples.

The antibody response varies in terms of how long it lasts depending on the infection and whether a person received treatment. Individuals who have been exposed to something in the past and then have either been treated or cleared the infection will likely have antibody levels drop over time.

The Serimmune tick-borne disease tests were developed to detect an active or recent infection. If you have previously received a positive result and have been treated for a tick-borne disease, your antibodies may have declined to a level that is undetectable using our test.

The deamidated gliadin test looks for antibodies to wheat proteins that are present in people with Celiac disease. Individuals who do not know they have Celiac and who eat products containing gluten may have higher levels of these antibodies. If you, however, have been previously diagnosed with Celiac disease and are on a gluten-free diet, you may have low or undetectable levels of these antibodies. This does not mean that you do not have Celiac disease.

About the Study

The Serimmune COVID-19 Immunity study “Human antibody repertoire profiling for sero-surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging pathogens” is intended to investigate personal immune response to infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus. Each individual makes their own unique set of antibodies to COVID-19, this study investigates how these differences may impact an individual’s experience with the disease.

Serimmune has a proprietary technology for assessing immune response and the personal antibodies made by an individual. This technology, Serum Epitope Repertoire Analysis or SERA, allows us to measure the antibodies present in a specimen and map them back to specific locations, or epitopes, on the virus. We will use SERA to better understand your specific antibody response.

No, we are unable to provide letters of exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine for participation in this clinical study.

This means that you agree to contribute your information to the Serimmune research study. As a participant, we will ask you to do a few things. We have summarized the most important ones below.

You will be asked to:

  1. Complete an informed consent document that will provide you details on the study and your participation in it. This is very important.
  2. Enroll through our website and complete a short health assessment.
  3. Provide a blood sample using a home collection kit for analysis.
  4. Provide additional samples from time to time or following infection with SARS-CoV-2.

If you have more questions, you can contact us at the email below.

You are consenting to allow researchers to use your blood and associated health information to better understand the human antibody response to COVID-19 and other emerging novel and seasonal pathogens. We encourage participants to remain in the study for the full five-year period, however you may opt out at any time.

The assay we will perform is not intended to be used as a clinical diagnostic test. If you have had exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the research assay is designed to characterize the antibody profiles that we see against the virus and track how they develop over time.

  1. Meet these eligibility requirements:
    • You are over 18 years old and live in the United States.
    • You are willing to provide blood samples using a home collection kit.
    • You are willing to complete an online medical history questionnaire every time you provide a sample.
  2. Watch a video that explains the study.
  3. Sign the Study Consent Form.
  4. Register in the online study portal.

You do not need to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to participate in the study. We will run your sample and provide you with the results. If you are exposed in the future, this will tell us about your specific immune response.

If you are infected during the study, focus on getting well. Approximately two weeks after your symptoms started, we would appreciate a sample to test for your antibody response to this recent infection.

If you would like to provide this additional sample, you may request a blood collection kit by emailing us at the address below.

Our technology may be able to tell you about your specific immune response to the vaccine and how it differs from the immune response to the native virus.

Email Serimmune at the address below for additional information.

We hope to better understand the antibodies that individuals make to SARS-CoV-2 and how this may be important for immunity, the duration of immunity, and for severity of symptoms.

Your personal identifying data will never be shared with third parties without your explicit consent; however, we may utilize your de-identified results in our research and technology development. A de-identified result is not traceable back to you personally. If you consent to participate in this study, we may only share your de-identified individual data and population level data with our research collaborators. Our collaborators are obligated to maintain strict levels of confidentiality for all data and will not have access to your personal identifiers.

All our data, when brought into our computing ecosystem, are disconnected from your contact and identifying information. Data are coded with a unique sample identifier (a sample ID) that does not contain any personal identifying information.

Our research is performed in a secure computing environment with access restricted to research scientists and system administrators. Our computers and servers are procedurally, electronically and physically protected and monitored and are monitored for unauthorized activity.

Your sample will be analyzed on Serimmune’s proprietary platform SERA or Serum Epitope Repertoire Analysis. Your sample may be stored frozen until the end of the study for re-analysis.

Absolutely. We are interested in the antibodies you may have made in response to infection.

Yes, this study is being conducted under oversight by WCG IRB study #1297772.