Rutgers researchers will provide COVID antibody testing for more than 2,000 children as part of an initiative by the National Institutes of Health geared to determine the incidence of long-term COVID-19 in children.
As part of the national Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery initiative, or RECOVER, Rutgers is leading a consortium called the Collaborative Long-Term Outcomes of COVID-19 in Kids, or CLOCK.
RECOVER is a $470 million NIH initiative to understand the frequency and development of “long COVID,” a condition in which people have prolonged symptoms or develop new or returning symptoms after the initial phase of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Maria Laura Gennaro, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Public Health Research Institute at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, will perform serological testing, which detects the presence of antibodies in the blood and if there was an immune response to the COVID-19 infection, on those participating.
“We will screen for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies sera from over 30,000 subjects among children and their caretakers enrolled in the pediatric RECOVER cohort,” said Natalie Bruiners, an assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School who will supervise the project.
The antibody testing will use the resources of the biomarker core of the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (NJ ACTS), which is directed by Gennaro and managed by Bruiners.
“One strength of this endeavor is that the SARS-CoV-2 proteins used in the binding assays are produced at Rutgers, using methods we established in more than a decade of HIV research,” said Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Professor Abraham Pinter. Pinter directs the laboratory producing the SARS-CoV-2 proteins used for these studies.
“We are delighted by this expansion of the CLOCK contribution to the RECOVER program,” said Lawrence Kleinman, professor and vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, director of the Division of Population Health, Quality and Implementation Sciences and the principal investigator for the CLOCK team. “Not only are we recruiting children and young adults along with our partners across the United States, but now Rutgers is able to provide serological services to the entire pediatric RECOVER cohort.”
NJ ACTS is directed by Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Professor Reynold Panettieri.