The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Helping guide Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Helping to Guide Canada’s Epidemic Response2022-08-09T16:07:42-04:00

The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force’s mandate

On April 23, 2020, the Government of Canada launched the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF). The Task Force’s mandate is to catalyze, support, fund and harmonize knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 immunity for federal, provincial, and territorial decision-makers in their efforts to protect Canadians and minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Priority Areas of Research

Immune Science

Advancing our understanding of immunity: Is immunity a given once someone has had COVID-19? How long does it last? Are there factors that make immunity wane faster?

Seroprevalence Studies

Collecting serologic data: How many Canadians have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, suggesting they’ve had COVID-19? Are some populations more likely to get SARS-CoV-2 and how could we better protect them?

Immune Testing

Fine-tuning methods for accurate serologic testing: Which tests can detect the new variants? Are there antibody tests that can be developed giving us results in minutes?

Vaccine Surveillance

Supporting research partners from across Canada in a new collaboration that will study vaccine effectiveness and safety in the population at large and in high-priority groups.

Boosters

Understanding when and if the general population and sub-groups such as long-term care residents, racialized communities or Indigenous Peoples need booster shots.

Pediatric Vaccination

Researching the safety, effectiveness and immunogenicity of vaccines in children under 12 to help inform the roll out of vaccines.

Immunity Modelling

Modelling trends in the overall immunity across Canada arising from infection and vaccination.

CITF Monthly Review

August 2022 issue

In this month’s issue, we’d like to highlight:

  • A question and answer feature with CITF-affiliated experts addressing where the pandemic is likely headed this fall, on pages 14-15.
  • A CITF data and analysis report on how the Omicron tsunami affected millions of Canadians in a matter of months, found on pages 2-3.
  • The latest data from Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, which show the rates of seroprevalence across all provinces through June 2022, found on pages 4-5.
  • How vaccines have been found to protect pregnant people and newborns, a population at particular risk from COVID-19 infection, on pages 12-13.

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CITF-funded Research Results

Asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus is not so common in healthcare students

Healthcare workers|

A CITF-funded study in preprint, currently under peer review, led by Dr. Anne Ellis (Queen’s University), suggests that despite a high risk of exposure because of their age and the fact that they were studying in healthcare settings, a very low number of healthcare students in Kingston, Ontario tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the first three waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, even when counting those with no symptoms.

Designing serological assays with high diagnostic potential

Optimization of immunologic testing|

In the hopes of creating a more accurate and highly informative diagnostic test, CITF-funded investigator Dr. Andrei Drabovich (University of Alberta) and colleagues have designed and evaluated the performance of novel serological assays to measure the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in blood and saliva. Their study is published in Analytical Chemistry.

Latest News

SeroTracker expands its SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance hub

CITF-funded SeroTracker has added to its knowledge hub that tracks findings from SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance efforts worldwide and in Canada. Peruse the maps and graphs and see how many people in this country (by province & territory as well) and around the world are estimated to have been infected with or vaccinated against this coronavirus to date (based on published research).
Explore SeroTracker

SeroTracker dashboard

What is serosurveillance and why is it important?

Serosurveillance is a common way of seeing how many people have been previously infected with a certain infectious agent, in this case SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. Blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Canadians are currently being tested to check levels of antibodies, which suggest a past infection. Serosurveillance can also help determine priority groups for vaccination and will be used to monitor the effectiveness of vaccines.

What does “vaccine surveillance” mean?

Vaccine surveillance includes studies of vaccine effectiveness (how good vaccines are at preventing severe disease, new infections, and transmission) and safety (identifying and quantifying the vaccine adverse effects). Although vaccines go through numerous trials before being approved for use, it is crucial to monitor their effectiveness and safety within a broader population and with various population groups (children, pregnant women, elderly, etc.).
See all FAQs

What is serosurveillance and why is it important?

Serosurveillance is a common way of seeing how many people have been previously infected with a certain infectious agent, in this case SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. Blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Canadians are currently being tested to check levels of antibodies, which suggest a past infection. Serosurveillance can also help determine priority groups for vaccination and will be used to monitor the effectiveness of vaccines.

What does “vaccine surveillance” mean?

Vaccine surveillance includes studies of vaccine effectiveness (how good vaccines are at preventing severe disease, new infections, and transmission) and safety (identifying and quantifying the vaccine adverse effects). Although vaccines go through numerous trials before being approved for use, it is crucial to monitor their effectiveness and safety within a broader population and with various population groups (children, pregnant women, elderly, etc.).
See all FAQs

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