Newswise — MONTREAL, MARCH 18, 2021 – Long-term care homes have been on the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, with 70 p.c of COVID-19 deaths having occurred in long-term care or nursing homes.
The Government of Canada, via its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF), is supporting a examine led by McMaster University researchers aimed toward understanding how well vaccination works in residents of long-term care homes and which elements could also be instantly linked to outbreaks. Approximately $5 million is being supplied for this examine, one of the most important single research specializing in long-term care homes in Canada.
The examine, which is in partnership with Schlegel Villages, St. Joseph’s Health System, and Health Sciences North Research Institute, will contain greater than 2,000 residents, employees, and guests of long-term care homes in Ontario over the course of a yr.
“We intention to find out how well vaccination works in residents of long-term care homes and uncover whether or not a resident’s earlier publicity to the virus or immune system response can defend them or make them weak to additional an infection,” says Andrew Costa, PhD, co-principal investigator of the examine, and Associate Professor of well being analysis strategies, proof, and affect at McMaster.
The staff can even decide what elements inside long-term care homes could also be instantly related to outbreaks, and whether or not these homes with earlier infections are prone to have future outbreaks.
“We’ll be mapping this info with different obtainable knowledge to higher perceive the unfold of the virus and immunity response throughout the province,” provides Dr. Costa.
Co-principal investigator Dawn Bowdish, PhD, an immunologist and professor of drugs at McMaster, provides that outbreaks can nonetheless be anticipated, regardless of widespread vaccinations.
“Although most residents are dangerously prone to COVID-19, some are resilient. Learning about how the immune system helps some residents teaches us learn how to make higher vaccines and defend residents from future outbreaks,” she says.
The analysis staff can also be working with scientific companions on the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, University of Toronto, St. Mary’s General Hospital and the University of Waterloo. PointClickCare Technologies and the Lung Health Foundation are additionally supporting this analysis.
“Our analysis will affect well being coverage shortly as a result of we’re collaborating instantly with provincial policymakers and COVID-19 decision-makers,” Dr. Bowdish explains.
“Our staff members and residents are proud to be half of this leading edge and vital examine,” says James Schlegel, President and CEO of Schlegel Villages. “The outcomes of this examine will contribute drastically to a extra sturdy understanding of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and can assist us maintain residents secure and wholesome. We are honoured to work with the McMaster staff and different companions to conduct this ground-breaking analysis.”
“This examine presents an vital alternative for our member organizations to proceed to be taught extra about COVID-19, its transmission in long-term care homes and what impact vaccination is having on virus transmission,” says David Wormald, President of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph and St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre Brantford, and Vice-President of elder care for St. Joseph’s Health System. “We have come a good distance in our understanding of COVID-19 in the final yr and the continued learnings will assist in our struggle in opposition to COVID-19 at St. Joseph’s Health System and past.”
“COVID-19 has taken an infinite toll on the aged and research like this one are wanted so we will higher defend them going ahead,” says Allison McGeer, MD, CITF Leadership Group member. “We encourage groups to work with those that can use the findings and implement them shortly, akin to authorities, public well being authorities, and key long-term care facility operators. This examine is doing that.”
“Sadly, seniors have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. “This analysis collaboration will improve our understanding of vaccine-induced immunity in seniors residing in long-term care homes in order to higher defend these residents in future”.
The challenge is an element of Canada’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats, a world community primarily based at McMaster, with scientists, clinicians, engineers, social scientists and different specialists working collaboratively to stop future pandemics and mitigate world well being threats.
About the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force In late April 2020, the Government of Canada established the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force with a two-year mandate. The Task Force is overseen by a Leadership Group of volunteers that features main Canadian scientists and specialists from universities and healthcare homes throughout Canada who’re targeted on understanding the character of immunity arising from the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. To that finish, the CITF is supporting quite a few research to find out the extent of SARS-CoV-2 an infection in Canada (in the overall inhabitants as well as in particular communities and precedence populations), perceive the character of immunity following an infection, develop improved antibody testing strategies, and assist monitor the effectiveness and security of vaccines as they’re rolled out throughout Canada. The Task Force and its Secretariat accordingly work intently with a variety of companions, together with governments, public well being companies, establishments, well being organizations, analysis groups, different process forces, and engages communities and stakeholders. Most just lately, the Task Force has been requested to help vaccine surveillance, effectiveness and security as half of its total goal to generate knowledge and concepts that inform interventions aimed toward slowing—and in the end stopping—the unfold of SARS-CoV-2 in Canada. For extra info go to: www.covid19immunitytaskforce.ca
Photos and B-roll: