As we mark World Immunisation Week, ESR is highlighting the work they’re doing in the global effort to develop vaccines for COVID-19 and influenza.
The World Health Organisation has dedicated 2020 as the Year of the Nurses and Midwives, so ESR is celebrating the team working on the Wellington-based SHIVERS and WellKiwis studies.
The two studies follow Wellington adults and children over a number of years to help better understand human immunity to Influenza and COVID-19 so scientists can develop effective vaccines.
ESR Principal Investigator Dr Sue Huang says nurses and midwives are an important part to the studies.
“Midwives introduce women and their whanau to WellKiwis and collect a small amount of cord blood around the time of birth. This cord blood will provide us with baseline information about the baby’s immunity before they’ve ever been exposed to disease,” says Dr Huang.
The WellKiwis study follows new-born babies until the age of seven – the research nursing team provide hands-on support if any of the participants start showing flu or COVID-19 symptoms.
“The nurses take swabs and blood tests which are used to understand how human immune responses develop against these two diseases,” says Dr Huang.
The research nursing team also follow more than 1300, Wellington-based, adult participants of the SHIVERS-II study. SHIVERS-II investigates the impact of repeat vaccination and infection on immunity and the transmission behaviour of influenza and COVID-19 in households.
“Not only have Wellington’s midwives and nurses continued to care for us during the lockdown, but those involved in our studies are also playing an important part in this globally critical research we’re doing to try and prevent future pandemics – and we couldn’t do it without them, their work is critical to the success of the studies,” says Dr Huang.