Government of Canada awards $2.5M to McMaster University to support the COVID-19 border study with McMaster HealthLabs

30-Oct-2020 12:40 PM EDT, by McMaster University

Newswise — McMaster University has been awarded $2.5 million from the Government of Canada to support the McMaster HealthLabs (MHL) Canadian International COVID-19 Surveillance Border Study at Toronto Pearson International Airport, being run in partnership with Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA).

The MHL study began in September 2020 and was established to gather data on COVID-19 rates of incoming international travellers, to help determine if an airport-based surveillance program is feasible, to determine whether self-collection of COVID-19 testing is effective and to explore options regarding the 14-day quarantine for international travellers.

The funding is provided through a partnership between Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

“We welcome the support and funding from the Government of Canada for this important COVID-19 research initiative,” said Dr. Marek Smieja, MHL scientific director, co-principal investigator of the Border Study and a professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster. "This support will allow us to complete our follow up and analysis with a globally unique data set of passengers tested for COVID-19 three times during 14 days of quarantine and acknowledges the public health interest and potential impact of our study.”

The MHL Border Study will inform Canada’s potential strategies for border surveillance at airports and other points of entry.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Smieja and the whole team at McMaster HealthLabs, which stepped up quickly to work with universities, businesses and other partners to develop and test solutions to curb the social and economic impacts of COVID-19,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas. “Their work is another shining example of McMaster University’s leadership and commitment to addressing challenges facing Canadians.”

Karen Mossman, McMaster’s vice-president of research, recognized Health Canada and CIHR for its strategic investment, acknowledging the potential impact of the team’s work.

“This funding is a direct reflection of McMaster’s reputation as a leader in infectious disease research and trusted partner in the delivery of evidence-based results,” she said. “Under Marek’s leadership, this study holds the promise of improving the physical, mental and economic health of Canadians.”

"The Border Study will offer valuable insights into large-scale airport surveillance testing – from the feasibility of self-collected nasal-oral samples, to the logistics of testing, transportation and communication for so many travellers. We believe our findings will inform public policy not only in Canada, but around the world,” said Dr. Jack Gauldie, MHL’s board chair and scientific director of The Research Institute of St. Joe's Hamilton, where the laboratory testing methods for this study were developed and performed by Dr. David Bulir.

The Border Study is being conducted in accordance with research ethics board-approved scientific protocols. Consenting participants provide a sample to MHL researchers before leaving the airport and then supply two additional samples self-collected at seven and fourteen days after arrival, coinciding with Canada’s current quarantine period.

“We regard the Government of Canada’s commitment as important support and believe the study will provide critical data to assist policy makers in adopting a science-based approach for devising safe alternatives to current travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” said Dr. Jim Chung, Air Canada’s Chief Medical Officer.

“The Greater Toronto Airports Authority remains committed to a science-based approach that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of passengers and airport workers. The work that McMaster HealthLabs has done to-date is invaluable,” said Craig Bradbrook, Chief Operating Officer, GTAA. “The support of the Government of Canada is welcome news and we are grateful for the assistance.”

An independent analysis of Border Study data will be conducted at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto under the supervision of the Principal Investigators, Dr. Marek Smieja and Dr. Vivek Goel, who will have responsibility for publishing the results in peer reviewed journals and for supporting MHL in broadly sharing the study’s findings. An interim report of study findings is expected to be released mid-November.

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4157
Newswise: Stimulus Relief Funds Increase Social Distancing to Stop Spread of COVID-19
23-Nov-2020 5:20 PM EST
Stimulus Relief Funds Increase Social Distancing to Stop Spread of COVID-19
University of California San Diego

As case rates of COVID-19 reach new heights across the nation, many states and cities are tightening stay-at-home restrictions to stop the spread. New research suggests that that those suffering from economic hardships are less likely comply with new stay-at-home orders; however these same U.S. residents would be more likely to adhere to the new public health guidelines if their households received stimulus funds.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 1-Dec-2020 9:15 AM EST Released to reporters: 30-Nov-2020 2:30 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 1-Dec-2020 9:15 AM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise:Video Embedded covid-19-update-surge-preparedness-vaccine-distribution
Released: 30-Nov-2020 2:20 PM EST
COVID-19 Update: Surge Preparedness, Vaccine Distribution

With the novel coronavirus spreading across the U.S. at a record pace, Cedars-Sinai has been seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients at its hospitals and through its network of physicians. But the health system's leaders say Cedars-Sinai is prepared.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 1:20 PM EST
Rethink COVID-19 infection control to keep primary schools open this winter, governments urged

An urgent rethink of infection control policies to keep COVID-19 infection at bay in schools is needed if primary schools are to be kept open this winter, and the knock-on effects on their families avoided, argue children's infectious disease specialists in a viewpoint, published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Newswise: Hackensack University Medical Center Urologists Continue to Provide State-of-the-Art Care During COVID-19
Released: 30-Nov-2020 12:45 PM EST
Hackensack University Medical Center Urologists Continue to Provide State-of-the-Art Care During COVID-19
Hackensack Meridian Health

Don’t Delay Your Care – Our dnhanced pandemic safety precautions prioritize patient health and allow providers to deliver outstanding in-office, telehealth and surgical care

Released: 30-Nov-2020 12:10 PM EST
Struggles of care home staff during COVID-19 first wave revealed in Whatsapp messages
University of Leeds

Analysis of social media messages between care home staff on the coronavirus front line reveal their growing concerns over how to manage in the face of the virus.

Released: 30-Nov-2020 11:30 AM EST
More than one-third of children with COVID-19 show no symptoms: study
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

More than one-third of kids who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic, according to a University of Alberta study that suggests youngsters diagnosed with the disease may represent just a fraction of those infected.

Newswise: Promising lab results in quest to find naturally occurring anti-COVID therapies
24-Nov-2020 5:35 PM EST
Promising lab results in quest to find naturally occurring anti-COVID therapies
University of Alabama Huntsville

So far, 35 of 125 naturally occurring compounds identified computationally at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to have potential against COVID-19 have shown efficacy in ongoing first-batch testing at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (UTHSC RBL) that’s the next step in the process to becoming a drug.

Showing results

110 of 4157