Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force invests almost $3M in two major MAP projects

Two MAP scientists have been awarded nearly $3 million in federal grants in support of research projects focused on improving our understanding how COVID-19 affects people experiencing homelessness, as well as children and families.

The funding is part of a $12.4 million funding announcement from Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF), in collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The COVENANT Study (COVID-19 Cohort Study of People Experiencing Homelessness in Toronto), led by MAP Director Dr. Stephen Hwang, received $1.9 million in funding. This study will reveal the patterns and trajectory of COVID-19 in the homeless population, and will help policy-makers and service providers better understand what works to prevent, detect and manage COVID-19 in this high-risk group.

The TARGet Kids! COVID-19 Study of Children and Families, led by MAP scientist Dr. Jonathon Maguire and Dr. Catherine Birken from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), received $975,000 in funding. The study will answer important questions about COVID-19 community transmission, risk factors for infection, and disease severity among children and families. This study is also funded by Fast Grants, the St. Michael’s Hospital AFP Innovation Fund, and the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation.

The Government of Canada launched the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) in late April 2020 to track the spread of the virus in both the general population and priority populations in Canada. The Task Force also aims to shed light on immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in a diversity of communities, age brackets, populations, and occupational groups across the nation. To generate this information, the Task Force is drawing on experts from universities and hospitals across Canada and working closely with provincial and territorial public health officials.