Genomics England is running the study, which aims to discover why some people suffer serious symptoms of coronavirus while others only experience light symptoms or even none at all.
From Saturday, the project will open centres in five London boroughs, including Croydon, where volunteers who experienced mild or no covid symptoms will provide blood samples.
“The unique GenOMICC covid-19 study analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to discover why some experienced no symptoms while others became extremely ill,” a group spokesperson said.
“The study is already contributing to the fight again covid, with preliminary results helping identify possible new treatments. However, for the study to continue to make progress, the scientists urgently need to recruit 2,500 more people from all backgrounds.”
With mounting evidence that serious coronavirus cases disproportionately impact people from black and Asian backgrounds, the researchers hope people from those communities in particular will volunteer.
Mayday Hospital is also working with the scheme.
“The past year has been exceptionally difficult for everyone – here in London more than 700,000 people caught covid-19 and, tragically, 19,000 lost their lives,” said Dr Sundar Raj Ashok, of Croydon University Hospital.
“The remarkable diligence of the community and healthcare workers prevented even more tragedy – but it’s research that holds the key to long-term solutions.
“Over the past year, more than a hundred of my patients in Croydon University Hospital’s intensive care took part in this research, knowing it may help save lives and improve recovery. Now the wider public can join too and help beat the virus.”
The research project is open to anyone who tested positive for covid but experienced mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment – volunteers can register online here.
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