Ottawa researchers look to understand COVID-19 immunity

OTTAWA — Have you had COVID-19 or are a front-line worker? An Ottawa study is looking for participants, which could make COVID-19 prevention and treatment better.

The University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital are investigating the long-term immunity against COVID-19.

“We’re going to look to see if the virus comes back, if they’re re-infected; and also, the duration of immunity against the virus,” says Dr. Marc-André Langlois, professor at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine.

He says the study could also affect future treatment.

“This will also help inform vaccine design, and also the schedule of booster shots for the vaccine,” said Dr. Langlois.

Over the next 10 months, the study will take blood and saliva from one-thousand participants. Half are those who have had COVID-19, and half are those who work the frontlines.

“What we want to do in that population, is to measure and see what percentage of them are asymptomatic; or have already had the virus and didn’t really know about it,” says Dr. Langlois.

Researchers are also looking for those who work in health care, grocery stores, bus and taxi drivers, or teachers.

“I think science and research is at the forefront of all the decision making that is happening right now; especially as a teacher for education, how we keep ourselves and students safe,” said Lindsay Laviolette, a high school teacher.

As well as looking for anyone who has had COVID-19. Carol Mann is a front-line health care worker, and had COVID-19 in March.

“As a nurse by background, by trade; I almost feel it’s my moral duty if I’m able, to be able to participate in something that I don’t feel is harming me or hindering my lifestyle at all,” said Mann.

Laviolette too, says her contribution is minimal, but important.

“It’s quite simplistic with collecting data, and I left like it was really important that now, more than ever we need to be contributing to this research.”

If you’d like to participate in the study, the Ottawa Hospital has an information page setup for the study.

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