New studies look at COVID-19 antibodies among Canadian correctional populations

By Globe Newswire7 days ago

MONTREAL, Feb. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Government of Canada is investing approximately $1.2 million through Canada's COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) to support four studies of correctional service employees and individuals incarcerated in Canadian correctional facilities. The studies will determine how many of these individuals have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and involve several federal institutions across the country and provincial prisons in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Quebec.

The research will help the CITF better understand how many incarcerated individuals and correctional staff have had COVID-19 and will help inform planning for the need for vaccine follow-up in these congregate settings.

Participation in the studies is completely voluntary. Anyone can withdraw their participation at any time. All participants will be given the opportunity to learn their serology test results confidentially.

“COVID-19 outbreaks in correctional facilities have significant impacts on incarcerated individuals and staff,“ states Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. “These studies will help us develop more effective strategies to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus within these facilities.“

Researchers will offer multiple tests to those in federal institutions to see what happens to antibody levels. “Understanding how antibody levels change over time is a first step to understanding the risk of re-infection,“ says Correctional Service Canada study lead researcher Dr. Michael Martin, Acting Director of Epidemiology.

“We take our responsibility for the safety of those within our correctional facilities very seriously, including those who are most vulnerable,“ states the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “Investing in these studies will allow us to improve on the measures that we are implementing to protect staff, incarcerated individuals, and local communities.“

Provincial Studies

Researchers in British Columbia and Quebec ...

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