COVID-related research using the 45 and Up Study

The Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study is one of the world’s largest ongoing studies of healthy ageing, involving over a quarter of a million middle-aged and elderly men and women from New South Wales.

Carefully considerations is being given to proposals for how best to use this nationally important research asset to support Australia’s research community both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 45 and Up Study is particularly well placed to provide important risk profile data and insights into who is most strongly impacted by COVID-19, who will require more intensive care, who will suffer longer-term impacts and how we can improve responses to similar public health crises in the future.

The next survey of participants will begin in June and we will be asking our participants questions about COVID-19.

The plan is to identify Study participants with confirmed COVID-19 and link this information with data from NSW hospitals and emergency departments, the Notifiable Conditions Information Management System (NCIMS), mortality data and MBS and PBS records, among many other health datasets.

These linked data can then be used to identify a range of outcomes related to patients’ journeys through our health system.

The 45 and Up Study has also collected blood specimens from 4700 participants, with genomic sequencing completed for over 1000 of them. This valuable resource could be used for genetic research into risk factors related to SARS-CoV-2.

The Sax Institute is interested in working with researchers and policy agencies on ways in which the 45 and Up Study can support COVID-19 related research. There are many possibilities, including additional questionnaire items, undertaking additional data collection for particular groups and trialling health interventions.

For more information, please contact Dr Kerrin Bleicher at kerrin.bleicher@saxinstitute.org.au.