Our COVID-19 studies

What is the COVID PROFILE study?

There is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19.
  • What makes a person more susceptible to contracting COVID-19?
  • Why do some people develop severe illness while others remain relatively well?
  • How long does immunity last after having COVID-19 or being vaccinated?


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Three scientists photographed in a laboratory
COVID PROFILE study leaders Dr Emily Eriksson,
Professor Ivo Mueller and Dr Vanessa Bryant

The COVID PROFILE study aims to find answers to these and other important questions by comparing immune responses in people who have experienced coronavirus infection, or who have been vaccinated, to people who have not.

These insights will help us better understand the factors that make a person susceptible to COVID-19 and the severity of the illness they might develop.

This will help doctors ensure those most at risk receive appropriate medical care, and will help inform vaccine design and public health measures in the future.


Who can take part in this study and what does it involve?

We are looking for adults in Greater Melbourne aged 18 years and older who have:

  • Been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are no longer infectious


  • Are close contacts of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but who have not had COVID-19 themselves


  • Intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

The study involves collecting a sample of your blood, saliva and a swab from your nose, at regular intervals throughout the course of a year. It does not involve taking any new medications.


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The Australian First Few X (FFX) research study for COVID-19 

The Australian First Few X (FFX) study aims to understand how emerging COVID-19 variants are transmitted within households and families.  

The study will also provide information about: 

  • changes in disease symptoms over time 
  • impacts of different variants 
  • Impacts of different vaccines 
  • long-term effects on immunity against COVID-19 

We are seeking participants from households where: 

  • One or more residents has tested positive to COVID-19 within the past seven days 
  • All residents are aged 18 years or over 
  • All residents agree to participate  

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If you (and your household members) agree to participate, you will: 

  • provide initial information about you, your household and your experience with COVID-19 
  • complete a daily symptom diary for up to 28 days which will take 2–5 minutes each day 
  • have at least one COVID-19 PCR swab test (to enable genomic study of the virus) 
  • provide blood samples – two in the first 28 days, and then further samples up to a year after your infection (to enable study of your immune response) 
  • be involved in 30–60 minutes of follow-up interviews in the initial period of the study 

The FFX study, or ‘First Few X’ (where ‘X’ represents the first identified cases of COVID-19), is designed to help gain an understanding of the infectiousness and severity of COVID-19 in Australia. The Australian FFX study is coordinated through the Australian Department of Health, and is based on a World Health Organization protocol. It is one of many similar studies being conducted worldwide. 

How to participate 

Responding to COVID-19

WEHI is leading a number of major research responses to COVID-19 in collaboration with research partners in universities, hospitals and the private sector.

Our researchers are working towards better approaches to diagnose, treat and prevent the spread of coronaviruses, both to address the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in preparedness for future coronaviral disease outbreaks.

Find out more about WEHI’s COVID-19 response.


Media enquiries

M: +61 475 751 811

Visualisation of SARS-CoV-2

Our researchers are working towards better approaches to diagnose, treat and prevent the spread of coronaviruses, both to address the current COVID-19 global outbreak as well as in preparedness for likely future coronaviral disease outbreaks.

Patient receiving a vaccination

We answer some popular questions about the vaccine rollout in Australia.