The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) has announced that it will conduct a research on societal immunity against coronavirus (Covid-19) in Qatar.
The PHCC said that the study comes within the framework of knowing the extent of the disease among the population of Qatar through people registered in the PHCC health centres.
The research will involve two tests conducted simultaneously - a nose and mouth swab and a blood test. This will enable researchers to know who has contracted the disease and who now has immunity from it.
Dr Hamda Qutba, Director of Research at the Primary Health Care Corporation, said that the sample chosen for the research will be random and anyone registered in the PHCC can volunteer to participate in it. The study can provide the information required to understand the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr Qutba explained that the study participants whose swab tests positive will be contacted with the same procedures that are taken with persons infected with coronavirus, and given instructions that they must follow, whether it is domestic isolation or in one of the isolation places designated by the state.
As for the results of the blood analysis, the participants will be contacted and informed about whether they have immunity or not, the extent of their illness and how well they have recovered from it, or whether they have been infected at all.
Dr Mohamed Sayed, a public health research consultant at the Department of Clinical Research at the PHCC, said that the aim of the study is to know those who are infected with the coronavirus and do not show symptoms, but they are present in the community without knowing that they are infected and, therefore, there is the possibility of them transmitting the virus to others.
He noted that the detection of the virus through two simultaneous tests - a nose and mouth swab and a blood test - will enable researchers to know who has contracted the disease and who has developed immunity.
The PHCC saidd that it has taken all precautionary measures, such as general sterilisation of the testing place and change of masks and gloves after examination of each participant, and ensuring that not more than one person is present in the test room, which will also be sterilised for a full hour after completing the examination of six participants.
Entry, exit and seating for participants in the research will be separate from that of the centres’ other patients.
The PHCC also noted that people who are quarantined in homes or hospitals will not participate in the research, as also those who have previously been allowed to participate in other research questionnaires or studies or who have been examined and have tested negative.
Dr Hamad Qutba said that the information collected for the purpose of the study will be confidential and stored electronically and available to researchers only.
The health centre near the participant, according to the person's choice, will be contacted to obtain some information through a questionnaire such as the age, nationality and residential area and the extent of the person's infection and the occurrence of any other symptoms.
The examination of the participants in the research will be conducted in the morning and evening from Sunday to Thursday for a period of three weeks, and the days of the examination may be extended according to the response of the participants.
The examination of the participants will be conducted at the Qatar University Health Centre, Al-Wajba Health Centre, and Al-Wakra Health Centre.