covid-19 testing canada coronavirus immunity task force

$1.1-billion to be invested in vaccine research, trials and COVID-19 testing

“Testing must increase even further before we can open and restart our normal activities as a country.”

In this morning’s daily briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a new $1.1-billion medical research strategy to fight COVID-19 / Coronavirus. The plan, which has three pillars, will invest $115-million into vaccine and treatment research, $662-million for clinical trials and $350-million for the expansion of national COVID-19 testing and modelling in Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau explained that the third pillar will include the creation of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

“The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force will operate under the direction of a leadership group, which will include Dr. David Naylor, Dr. Catherine Hankins, Dr. Tim Evans, Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Mona Nemer,” Trudeau said. “We are bringing together top health experts and scientists from leading institutions across the country. Canada’s best and brightest will be working on serology testing, blood testing, to track and understand immunity to COVID-19. They will be looking at key questions like how many people beyond those that we’ve already tested have had COVID-19, whether you are immune once you’ve had it and if so, how long that lasts. Over two years, we will be testing at least 1 million people in Canada as part of the COVID-19 study. The findings of the research will help with everything from roll-outs to a potential vaccine to determining which public health measures are most effective. We will get valuable data, including aggregated data to understand the impact on vulnerable populations. And we will also leverage new and existing lab capacity for research. The better we understand the virus, its spread and its impact on different people, the better we can fight it, and eventually defeat it.” ■

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