The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force Helping guide Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Helping to Guide Canada’s Epidemic Response2021-02-27T11:10:20-05:00

The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force’s mandate

On April 23, 2020, the Government of Canada launched the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF). We are charged with leading a Canada-wide effort to help determine the extent of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Canada in the general population as well as in specific communities and priority populations, and understand the nature of immunity related to COVID-19. In December 2020, the Task Force was assigned an additional role in vaccine surveillance and, in addition, the Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group was formed.

The Task Force’s mandate supports the implementation of relevant research projects, aligning studies across Canada, and seeking to provide useful information to federal, provincial, and territorial decision-makers as they oversee responses to the COVID-19 pandemic to best protect Canadians.

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.

Research Spotlight

Two studies to determine the impact of COVID-19 vaccines in residents of long-term care facilities in BC and Alberta

Two studies have begun in BC and Alberta investigating how the immune systems of elderly residents and staff in long-term care facilities respond to COVID-19 infection and vaccination. Researchers in BC will also assess the viral, immunological and social factors that have contributed to COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities. Meanwhile the study in Alberta is also monitoring sewage wastewater as to develop an early warning system to detect and monitor outbreaks in long-term care facilities.
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CITF-funded Research Results

New commercial neutralization assay has modest value added compared to classical alternatives

Optimization of immunologic testing studies|

A study published in pre-print designed and executed by CITF scientific advisors, Dr. Jesse Papenburg, Dr. Matthew Cheng and Dr. Cedric Yansouni, evaluated multiple assays that detect antibodies capable of neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They compared classic neutralization assays to surrogate neutralization assays that measure binding between spike’s receptor binding domain (RBD) and the cellular receptor and immunoassays that measure antibodies against RBD.

Latest News

SeroTracker: the SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance knowledge hub

SeroTracker is a knowledge hub we support that tracks findings from SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance efforts worldwide. Peruse the map and see how many people worldwide are estimated to have been infected with this coronavirus to date (based on published research).
Explore SeroTracker

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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Seeking information on vaccine procurement and advice?

For those seeking information on vaccine procurement and advice, please note that it is the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force that advises the federal government on COVID-19 vaccine procurement and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization that advises the federal, provincial and territorial governments on vaccine delivery policy and priorities.

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