School of Health Sciences launches COVID-19 antibody research study

A new research study by Elon’s School of Health Sciences aims to determine how long COVID-19 antibodies last after vaccination.

A research team from Elon’s School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies program and Simulation Program has launched a new research study about the COVID-19 vaccine and how long it grants immunity following vaccination.

Dr. Melissa Murfin and Dr. Cindy Bennett, associate professors in the PA program, along with Nita Skillman, director of the Client and Standardized Patient Program, will collaborate on the initiative, which aims to find whether COVID-19 vaccines stimulate antibodies that last up to a year.

“It’s the question nobody knows the answer to yet,” Murfin said. “So if we can get some good data, then we’d be contributing to that world pool of knowledge on what COVID really looks like on the other side.”

Participants will receive free COVID-19 antibody testing for the duration of the study, including an initial test to check for antibodies prior to vaccination. Participants will receive four additional antibody tests over the course of the year following vaccination to continue to monitor the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. Researchers will also record each participant’s vaccine brand to determine whether there are differences in the life of the antibodies stimulated by the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Enrollment for the study is open to all Elon students, faculty and staff over the age of 18 who have not tested positive for COVID-19 and have not yet been vaccinated. Anyone interested in taking part in the study can learn more and apply here.

As millions of people across the globe continue to receive their COVID-19 vaccines, Murfin, Bennett and Skillman hope this research answers lingering questions and offers part of a solution to the challenges facing the world over the past year.

“We’re really excited to be part of this because that world community knowledge base about COVID is developed one small piece at a time. No one individual piece tells you everything, but a thousand little pieces all put together tell us something really huge.”