CITF Spotlight on Research | Issue 43 | November 30, 2021

CITF Events

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There are limited data on COVID-19 illness and vaccination during pregnancy to inform recommendations for pregnant people and their care providers and to guide public health policies. The CITF and CanCOVID are therefore eager to share the latest research from three CITF-supported studies that are helping to inform decision-making for ongoing COVID-19 vaccine administration programs in Canada.
The featured speakers are: Dr. Deshayne Fell of the University of Ottawa and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute; Dr. Deborah Money of the University of British Columbia and BC Women’s Hospital; and Dr. Deborah O’Connor of the University of Toronto. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion and a question-and-answer period.

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CITF-Funded Research Results

Study of paramedics in Canada reaffirms that longer intervals between vaccine doses is better

New evidence stemming from a CITF-funded study of Canadian paramedics shows that getting two doses of an mRNA vaccine 6-to-7-weeks apart produces higher levels of antibodies compared to two doses 3-to-4-weeks apart, as recommended by the manufacturers. The research, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, was led by Drs. Brian Grunau and David Goldfarb from the University of British Columbia.  

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Low transmission of SARS-CoV-2 observed in kindergarten to grade 12 schools in British Columbia

Drs. Pascal Lavoie and Louise Mâsse from the University of British Columbia and their team have released new findings from their CITF-funded study of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Vancouver schools. In a pre-print, not-yet peer reviewed, their results suggest that despite the presence of variants of concern last spring, there was low transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools from kindergarten to grade 12, where appropriate disease prevention measures were in place.

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How adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease treated with immunosuppressive drugs respond to COVID-19 vaccination

In a letter published in Gut, Drs. Kevan Jacobson, Pascal Lavoie and collaborators from the University of British Columbia report modestly lower antibody levels in adolescents, aged 12 to 17 years, with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who are on combination therapy with the anti TNF-α therapy, Infliximab together with an immune modulator compared to Infliximab monotherapy after a first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine. However, this divergence disappears after the second dose. These findings underscore that most youth receiving anti-TNF-α anti-inflammatory therapy for treatment of IBD, produce adequate antibody responses following COVID-19 vaccination.

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Solid organ transplant recipients mount weaker T cell responses to mRNA vaccines than they do to SARS-CoV-2 infections

An article published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases by CITF-funded researcher Dr. Deepali Kumar at the University of Toronto evaluated T cell responses in 50 solid organ transplant recipients (SOTR) who demonstrated prior COVID-19 infection. Their findings suggest that even immunocompromised individuals are capable of mounting robust T cell responses following exposure to SARS-CoV-2, but generate weaker responses post-vaccination.

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Making life easier for researchers doing systematic reviews of seroprevalence studies

Researchers at CITF-funded SeroTracker present a new automated tool designed for risk of bias assessment (ROB). Because ROB can be a time consuming and subjective task when performing a systematic review, in this preprint, not yet peer reviewed, the authors offer a set of rules for transparent and reproducible assessments of seroprevalence studies. The SeroTracker ROB decision rules proved useful in classifying all studies in the SeroTracker database and showed good reliability.  

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CITF Announcement

Watch your mailbox for the December issue of our brand new CITF Monthly Review, featuring:

  • Novel CITF modeling data on SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in Canada;
  • Experts’ commentary on pediatric vaccination
  • Data derived from blood donors by Canadian Blood Services
  • Highlights of research conducted by CITF-funded scientists.


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The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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