Northwestern University researchers are examining the impact of COVID-19 on young adult sexual and gender minority communities with an innovative antibody testing study funded by the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Led by the Third Coast CFAR Co-Director Brian Mustanski, PhD, this study will evaluate COVID-19 exposure among sexual and gender minorities. The study will also examine whether socio-behavioral risks (vaping, smoking cigarettes or cannabis, methamphetamine use), asymptomatic systemic inflammation, and HIV infection are associated with the prevalence of antibodies specifically directed against SARS-CoV-2 among this population.
As part of the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative, the RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) program will support research that aims to better understand COVID-19 testing patterns among underserved and vulnerable populations; strengthen the data on disparities in infection rates, disease progression, and outcomes; and develop strategies to reduce the disparities in COVID-19 testing. Additional investigators on this team include Third Coast CFAR Director Richard D’Aquila, MD; pharmacologist Alexis Demonbreun, PhD; biological anthropologist Thomas McDade, PhD; molecular geneticist and physician Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD; and clinical psychologist Michael Newcomb, PhD.