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COVID vaccine research looks at immunocompromised

Ottawa researchers have been awarded $8 million to study how well COVID-19 vaccines work in people with varied immune responses, including those with cancer and other medical conditions.
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Ottawa researchers have been awarded $8 million to study how well COVID-19 vaccines work in people with varied immune responses, including those with cancer and other medical conditions.

The Ottawa Hospital and University of Ottawa will lead four studies in partnership with organizations across the country, with federal funds coming through the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

Researchers say $2.1 million will back efforts at determining vaccine effectiveness among people with blood cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. They expect to recruit 1,400 people from more than a dozen hospitals.

A second study from the Ottawa Hospital and BC Cancer is getting $1.9 million to look at how well people with other cancers can mount a sufficient immune response after vaccination. It expects to enrol 300 adult patients in Ottawa and Vancouver, as well as 150 healthy volunteers in Ottawa.

McGill University and the National Research Council of Canada is partnering with the Ottawa Hospital on two other studies: one on vaccine effectiveness in people with immune conditions that are either inherited or related to medication, the other on various questions around how to enhance protection for people including seniors and COVID "long-haulers."

The study on immune conditions is getting $2.5 million and plans to recruit 460 participants from 12 sites across Canada, including Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Calgary and Winnipeg.

The fourth study was launched in October 2020 to look at the immune response of people who've tested positive for COVID-19 or have a higher risk of exposure. It will use $1.7 million in new funding to expand research into how antibodies and immune cells called T-cells respond to COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press