June 15th, 2024

Study to use antenatal blood to track COVID-19’s arrival in Canada

By Medicine Hat News on September 29, 2020.

A new serological study will use existing antenatal blood samples to determine when COVID-19 first entered Canada.

The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force will analyze blood samples collected for standard testing of pregnant women across Canada.

This $3.1-million investment will help track trends in the level of SARS-CoV-2 infection among pregnant women from the first wave of the novel coronavirus infection and indicate when the virus might have first arrived here.

“Pregnant women represent the full diversity of Canada and, as such, are a valuable window on our nation,” said Dr. Deborah Money, principal investigator of the study and professor, obstetrics and gynecology, Medicine & School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.

Tracking COVID19 antibodies in this population provides information on risks of infection in pregnant women and is an opportunity to understand transmission among the general adult population, she said.

The study will look at antenatal samples dating back to 2019 to identify the initial date that antibodies of novel coronavirus infection were first present in Canada.

The study will access real-time and archived serological samples, which are taken for routine screening as part of prenatal care for virtually all pregnancies in Canada.

The study plans to analyze 50,000 samples initially and link results with key data, including age, location and other demographic information. The data will enable a more comprehensive picture of the spread of the virus.

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