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Identification of underlying factors influencing the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 among workers and residents in long-term care homes: a multi-province study

Project status
Ongoing
Contact
Dr. Amy Hsu
Institution web page
https://www.bruyere.org/en/blog/pan-canadian-studies-investigate-covid19-long-term-care?ly=4
Host institution
The Bruyère Research Institute
Team members
Principal Investigators: Dr. Amy Hsu and Dr. Marc-André Langlois Co-Investigators: Dr. Kimberlyn McGrail, Dr. Erin Strumpf, Dr. Sara Allin, Dr. Julian Little, Dr. Kumanan Wilson, Dr. Doug Manuel, Dr. Peter Tanuseputro, Dr. Kednapa Thavorn, and Dr. Chantal Trudel. Core Staff: Dr. Daniel El Kodsi, Kerry Moloney, Zaina Kahiel, Leora Simon, Seles Yung, Anna Cooper Reed, Maya Murmann, and Alixe Ménard. Design and Tech: Shane Kirkham, Samantha Astles, and Cameron Bell. Clinical Research and Education: Kat Denize, Scott Donald, Kathryn May, Carrie Heer, Helen Niezgoda, Shelly Dowling, and Dr. Corey Arnold.
Funding information (if funded)
The C19 Immunity study is funded by the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF). Investigators from the Bruyère Research Institute and the University of Ottawa have been awarded $3.5 million in funding for their cross-provincial study
Project Summary
Long-term care homes across the world have been gravely impacted by COVID-19. In Canada, approximately 60% of the deaths related to COVID-19 were in long-term care homes. Residents in long-term care homes are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, given their advanced age, reduced immune system capacity, and multiple underlying health conditions. Individuals who work in long-term care homes also face an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.

?The Government of Canada, via its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF), has funded several studies  – spanning Halifax to Vancouver – to investigate various aspects of immunity and people’s response to vaccines within long-term care homes.

This project includes long-term care home residents and workers in Québec, Ontario and British Columbia.

?The research team is hoping to collect dried blood spot samples from nearly 8,000 long-term care residents and workers to look for the presence of antibodies against COVID-19. Findings from this research will show how various immunity factors, such as antibodies, react to COVID-19 and to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Outputs / Expected Outputs

The goal of this study is to build a better understanding of how widespread COVID-19 is in Canada among our most vulnerable and high-risk populations, as well as the effectiveness and safety of currently approved COVID-19 vaccines:

  • We will study the immune response of 2,500 workers and 3,500 residents in long-term care facilities across Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia and will do vaccine surveillance. 
  • Our goal is to gain insight into how various immunity factors, such as antibodies, react to COVID-19 and/or to vaccines. We will compare the immune response in individuals who previously had COVID-19, those who got vaccinated, those who have not been infected, and those who have not been vaccinated. 
  • The team will then link the information found from analyzing the blood specimens to participants’ healthcare data to follow individuals over time, including after an infection or after vaccination. 
  • We will track the occurrence of adverse events and serious illness over time. More specifically, we will be closely analyzing the subgroup of antibodies, called virus neutralizing antibodies, that protect against new infections.
  • The team will also use an app called CANImmunize, which is a pan-Canadian digital immunization tracking application developed by study co-applicant, Dr. Kumanan Wilson. The research team has had the app modified so that long-term care facilities can upload vaccination information for many of their residents and staff at once. This will allow long-term care facilities to track the vaccination records for staff and residents in their facilities. It will also allow each participant to have a record of which vaccine they received, when, and how long it was between their first and second dose.
Project website
https://www.c19immunitystudy.ca

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Identification of underlying factors influencing the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 among workers and residents in long-term care homes: a multi-province study