The influence of COVID-19 behavioural responses on early life microbial exposures

Project: Research project

Project Details


The microbiome lies at the interface between environmental inputs and health outcomes, and early research has shown that COVID-19 disparities are influenced by socioeconomic factors like neighbourhood and occupation, which affect individuals’ ability to stay at home or isolate themselves. Responses to COVID-19 may also be having important effects on infants’ microbiomes. For example, mothers with suspected or confirmed infection are physically separated from newborns, and skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding may involve the use of facemasks or alcohol-based hygiene products. Further, variation in parents’ adherence to stay-at-home guidelines, often influenced by socioeconomic status, likely impacts the degree to which the infant microbiome is shaped by contact with additional caregivers. This interdisciplinary study will integrate microbiome and social science research to explore how variation in behavioural responses to COVID-19 influence the infant microbiome. This project, a collaboration between four fellows in CIFAR’s Humans & the Microbiome program,will lay the foundation for a larger future study, including the collection of “post-pandemic” samples for comparison to the ones collected in this pilot study.
Effective start/end date7/1/2010/15/21


  • Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CF-0166)


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