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Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute

Zurich SARS-CoV-2 Cohort: Longer-term health and immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection in a representative population-based cohort

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has had a substantial impact on public health, economies and societies worldwide. From the early days of the pandemic, it was clear that joint research efforts of various disciplines would be necessary to tackle challenges posed by the virus and support policy and decision-making in Switzerland and worldwide. To this end, cohort studies emerged as valuable tools to assess the health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic.

The Zurich SARS-CoV-2 Cohort study was conceived in mid 2020 and set out to gather critical data to inform public health measures aiming to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and to limit its impact on those affected. The study was established in close collaboration with the Department of Health of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, and brings together the expertise of epidemiologists, immunologists, and infectious disease specialists to answer questions on various aspects of SARS-CoV-2 in order to better understand its epidemiology and long term effects. It is an ongoing, population-based, longitudinal cohort of randomly selected individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, including a complementary case-ascertained study of their close contacts in the Canton of Zurich. Comprehensive assessments regarding the longer-term health and medical consequences (i.e., Long Covid or post COVID-19 condition), re-infections, breakthrough infections following vaccination, as well as humoral and cellular immune responses, are conducted regularly up to three years after SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.

Among others, the study has the following three main objectives:

  1. Determine the long-term clinical outcomes among SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals.
  2. Characterize immune responses and the development of immunity among SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals by assessing both antibody and T-cell responses.
  3. Examine patterns of SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission among infected index cases and their close contacts in the context of contact tracing.

For further information, please contact the study team via e-mail: zhcorona-cohort AT

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