Project launched to test members of the Black community in Ontario for COVID-19 immunity

Dr. Upton Allen

A team of researchers has started testing persons in the Black community in Ontario  for COVID-19 infection “as indicated by antibody responses. ”

Lead  investigator Dr. Upton Allen, head of the is the Infectious Diseases Division  at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, says persons  with antibody responses to COVID-19 are more likely than not to have at least partial immunity to future infections with the virus that causes COVID-19.

“This information will not only give us a better idea of the extent to which COVID-19 has affected the community but also the extent to which the community might be protected should there be a second wave of the infection during the Fall of 2020.”

While all ethnic groups have been affected by COVID-19, data from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada show that persons of African ancestry are disproportionally affected. 

Allen points outr thatt as a result of the study, “we are going to be able to get a better understanding of the extent to which the African-Canadian population in Toronto has been affected by COVID,.

“We will also be able to determine that, for example if someone lives in a particular postal code and they are African-Canadian and they get COVID, how does it compare with a wite person who lives in that same postal code who is of the same socio-economic status to see if there are particular signals that suggests Afrcian-Canadians are more likely to be affected,.

Dr. Allen says about 3,000 are expected to be tested.

The first part of the project is expected to be completed in six months.

Both the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto are funding the project.