Montreal study to estimate how many children have been infected with coronavirus

Oct 20 2020, 12:54 pm

Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) announced it will invest $720,000 in a research project in Montreal to determine how many local children and teens have been infected with the coronavirus.

The study is the first to be announced in a series of child and teen-focused studies funded by the CITF.

The research project will study two to 17-year-olds in daycares, elementary schools, and high schools that have been randomly selected in four regions across Montreal: Beaconsfield, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montreal-Nord, and the Plateau.

In order to collect blood samples from children for the study, the CITF will distribute a finger-prick test with parents or guardians to be used on children at home.

Samples will then be tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19. Participants will also be asked to fill out a short questionnaire that will be used to determine how the pandemic has affected the mental health of children.

“It is extremely important to know how many children have been infected with SARS-CoV-2,” says project lead Kate Zinszer, Assistant Professor at l’École de santé publique, Université de Montréal, and researcher at the Centre for Public Health Research. “We know children are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and can transmit the infection, but much uncertainty remains. This study will give us a good idea of how many children on the island have previously had COVID-19, which can help inform public health measures.”

The study has been backed by both federal and municipal public health officials.

Researchers will inform parents if their child does have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, although they still won’t be guaranteed immunity against the virus that causes coronavirus, says the press release.

To participate in the study or see if your child’s school or daycare is participating, please visit the EnCORE website.