COVID-19 Variant Supplement – Analysis of Antibody Neutralization Efficiency and Cellular Immunity in SARS-CoV-2-Positive Individuals Identified in At-Risk Individuals

Langlois, Marc-Andre | $50,000

Ontario University of Ottawa 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

As the COVID‑19 pandemic continues its deadly course around the globe, research efforts are closely focused on viral immunity, antibody responses, and vaccine development. Increasing data from multiple reputable international medical sources now indicate that exposure to the COVID‑19 virus induces an antibody response in nearly all exposed individuals. However, questions remain about the protective value of these antibodies against repeat exposure to the virus and how long this protection will last. Furthermore, it is unclear whether there are differences in the virus-neutralizing ability of antibodies produced by asymptomatic carriers of the virus and individuals that develop severe COVID‑19 infection. Answers to these important questions will enable us to predict the likelihood of additional waves of COVID‑19 as well as inform public health efforts and vaccine development. For our study we will recruit a total of 1,000 healthy primary school teachers, daycare personnel, frontline medical workers in hospitals, and elderly people living in retirement homes. We will monitor them every two weeks for the virus and monthly for antibodies. We will regularly report back the data to the participants. The information learned from our laboratory will have five major outcomes: 1) It will enable early detection of infection and thereby greatly reduced the spread of the virus; 2) We will acquire a better sense of the numbers of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals exposed to COVID-19; 3) Antibodies in the blood of those infected will be tested to see how well it can neutralize the virus; 4) Critical information about immunity to COVID‑19 and how long the immunity will last will be shared with the scientific community and local/regional/national health authorities; and 5) This new knowledge will help vaccine developers make the right decisions about how to create their vaccines and how to give them to all of us.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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