COVID-19 antibody study yields early results
Participants of the BC Generations Project are among 20,000 people nationwide who have each provided a few drops of blood to help researchers determine how many Canadians have developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus.
The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath) COVID-19 Antibody Study uses a serological test to detect antibodies in the blood that are produced in response to an infection, or after receiving a vaccine.
Early findings from the study confirm that a two-dose COVID-19 immunization schedule creates stronger levels of antibody compared to one dose. Researchers also found that single doses of the mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) vaccines produced short-term antibody levels more than one and a half times greater than those produced by the viral vector vaccine (Oxford-AstraZeneca).
These results confirm the importance of ensuring uptake of second doses of vaccines to protect against COVID-19, as well as the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines.
Researchers will continue to use the results of this study to answer other important and timely questions about COVID-19 antibodies and immunity. “My hope is that we can get a much better understanding of factors that influence antibody responses,” says Dr. Parveen Bhatti, the BC Generations Project’s Scientific Director. “This information will be key to informing people about their risks of infection and prioritizing the need for additional doses to ensure everyone has adequate protection.”
Learn more about the CanPath COVID-19 Antibody Study.
Banking on research breakthroughs
The BC Generations Project has established a new virtual Tumour Tissue Bank to support access to tumour samples of Project participants who have received a cancer diagnosis.
Through a data linkage to the BC Cancer Registry, the Project’s virtual Tumour Tissue Bank catalogues the pathology report data and tumour samples belonging to Project participants. Stored at pathology laboratories around the province, these samples from a range of tumour types can now be identified and accessed for approved research studies.
When paired with participant information previously collected via the BC Generations Project, this new resource supports innovative research that explores the role of lifestyle and environment in disease risk and outcomes.
Graduate student Umaimah Zanif, who is completing her Master of Science degree in UBC’s Interdisciplinary Oncology program, has been working on the Tumour Tissue Bank project. Her thesis project will examine how lifestyle factors assessed before cancer diagnosis may affect important characteristics in colorectal tumours that are associated with disease outcome.
Umaimah explains that there is value for researchers in being able to access multiple types of data. “Considering demographic, lifestyle, and environmental factors in conjunction with pathology information from tumor samples may lead us to better predictions around prognosis and treatment response,” she says.
Making the most of your data
The data from this year’s COVID-19 Antibody Study contributes new information to the COVID-19 data already collected through CanPath. Last year, more than 101,500 CanPath participants across Canada – including more than 17,800 from the BC Generations Project – completed a questionnaire capturing information on COVID-19 symptoms, testing and impact on daily activities. These datasets are now available to researchers for further studies on the effects of COVID-19.
February 24, 2022: Save the date!
Together with its seven regional cohorts, the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath) will host its first-ever online Participant Town Hall on Wednesday, February 24th, 2022 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. (PST).
Join fellow participants from across the country to:
- Learn more about the progress made by CanPath and the BC Generations Project over the last 12 years
- Find out how your questionnaire data and biological samples are being used for cancer, chronic disease and COVID-19 research
- Hear from investigators about their research findings
Look for your invitation email in the new year!
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