About the seroMARK project

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports indicating that Black communities in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada are at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection. However, the reasons for this increased risk are unclear.

The seroMARK project is a research study that will use seroprevalence to understand the extent to which the Black community in Canada has been affected by COVID-19. Infection will be determined by measuring the antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. The project seeks to answer the following questions:

  • How common is the COVID-19 infection amongst Black Canadians?
  • What are the reasons or factors that are the most responsible for infection in Black Canadian communities?
  • Are there factors in these communities that are linked to a more severe form of COVID-19 illness?

Finding answers to these questions will help us understand how vulnerable African Canadians are to the current COVID-19 virus and future waves of infection. This will help determine the ways in which the community might be protected from the virus (should there be another wave), and how long this protection might last.

What is seroprevalence?

Seroprevalence is the level of a substance in a population, as measured in blood serum.

In this case, we want to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies among a population of African Canadians compared with other populations in Canada. 

What are antibodies?

Antibodies are substances that the body makes to protect people from infections like that caused by the virus that causes COVID-19. We want to test Black Canadians in Ontario to determine if they have evidence of COVID-19 as indicated by antibody responses. Antibody testing allows us to test how your body protects you from infections like that caused by the virus responsible for COVID-19. 

We want to find out if clinical, socioeconomic, and demographic factors are related to the presence of antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Who can participate in this study?

Black Canadians in Ontario
Note: The first phase of the project will start in Toronto. 

You are eligible to take part if you are older than age 2 and are not sick with COVID-19 at the time of testing in the study. 

Non-African Canadians

You are eligible if you live in specific postal codes zones (click to see eligible zones). 

Eligible cities and postal code zones

What will happen in this study?

During the first visit, we will do a blood test that will be tested for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. If your blood test is positive for the antibodies, we will invite you back in 6 months to check to see if your test remains positive. If your blood test result is negative for antibodies at visit 1, your participation in this study is complete but there is the option for you to rejoin later. 

Where will the visits take place?

We will visit your community and will provide notice when we are coming. This will be done with the help through social media, posters, community leaders, churches, and other means. 

Are you interested in being a participant?

To participate in the seroMARK study, please fill out our contact form. After you submit the form, a member of the seroMARK project team will contact you to discuss next steps.
By providing your contact information and submitting the form below, you are providing your consent to be contacted by the seroMARK project team at SickKids.

SeroMARK participant contact form