COVID-19 Initiatives

As Canada’s largest population health study, CanPath responded quickly to the pandemic by leveraging its existing infrastructure to support national COVID-19 research.

On April 21st, 2020, CanPath announced the launch of its COVID-19 Initiative in support of national COVID-19 related research activities.  

As Canada’s largest population health study, CanPath responded quickly to the pandemic by leveraging its existing infrastructure to support four key aims: 

  1. Determine population-level prevalence of COVID-19 in Canada;  
  2. Determine biological, societal and behavioural factors that affect susceptibility to COVID-19; 
  3. Capture the socio-economic, mental health and long-term health outcomes of COVID-19; 
  4. Capture biospecimens to enable population-level serological surveillance. 

CanPath COVID-19 Questionnaire

Working alongside national and global partners, CanPath developed a COVID-19 specific questionnaire that is being distributed to over 400,000 CanPath and partner cohort participants across Canada. This data collection initiative will help measure the spread and severity of COVID-19 in communities across Canada.  

Data collected through the COVID-19 Questionnaire will be made available to researchers by the end of 2020. Analysis of the COVID-19 data collected will be supported by CanPath’s existing cohort data and linkages to administrative health databases. 

The CanPath COVID-19 Questionnaire is being distributed by all six of our regional Canadian cohorts: BC Generations Project, Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, Manitoba Tomorrow Project, Ontario Health Study, CARTaGENE (Quebec), and the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health.  

Information collected by the CanPath COVID-19 Questionnaire includes: 

  • COVID-19 test results/suspected infection 
  • Symptoms experienced (if any) 
  • Participant hospitalized or received medical care 
  • Current health status and risk factors 
  • Potential source of exposure 
  • Impact of pandemic on job status 
  • Impact of pandemic on mental, emotional, social and financial well-being  

*Please note that while ethnicity/race data is not being collected through this questionnaire, self-reported ethnicity data was collected at baseline for all CanPath participants. This data will be available for all participants who complete the COVID-19 questionnaire and can support important analyses of the effect of the pandemic on Canadian BIPOC. 

  • 87,200Questionnaires submitted to date
View the CanPath COVID-19 Questionnaire521 KBDownload

Who can participate in the CanPath COVID-19 Questionnaire? 

Only current participants of CanPath’s cohorts and partner cohorts are invited to contribute to this study. Participants will receive communications directly from their regional cohort regarding participation in the COVID-19 questionnaire. 

However, The Manitoba Tomorrow Project is still in recruitment! Those who live in Manitoba and are interested in learning more or volunteering for the study can do so by: 

SUPPORT-Canada Initiative

On June 25, 2020, CanPath was awarded a $2.1 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through the COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding competition. The initiative, titled SUrveying Prospective Population cOhorts for COVID-19 pRevalence and ouTcomes in Canada (SUPPORT-Canada), aims to capture data and biospecimens to enable population-level surveillance. 

SUPPORT-Canada will be built out from CanPath, Canada’s largest population cohort, in partnership with the Toronto-based University Health Network (UHN), along with support from numerous research platforms, industry collaborators and service providers. 

By working with population cohorts, patient cohorts and healthcare worker cohorts, SUPPORT-Canada aims to:  

  • Collect population and clinical-level COVID-19 data and outcomes from  over 400,000 Canadians to support personalized risk profiling, and inform adaptive social and public health responses; 
  • Create capacity for world-leading research in immunophenotyping, seroprevalence and host-viral genetics;  
  • Explore the role that genetics, co-morbidities and the environment play in shaping the pathophysiology of COVID-19 severity, susceptibility and immunological response. 

COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative 

CanPath is a member of the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative. This initiative brings together the human genetics community to generate, share and analyze data to learn the genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility, severity and outcomes. 

195 contributing studies from around the world are seeking to:  

  1. Provide an environment to foster the sharing of resources to facilitate COVID-19 host genetics research (e.g. protocols, questionnaires); 
  2. Organize analytical activities across studies to identify genetic determinants of COVID-19 susceptibility and severity; 
  3. Provide a platform to share the results from meta-analytical activities to benefit the broader scientific community.  

Clonal Hematopoiesis Subgroup

Dr. Philip Awadalla, National Scientific Director of CanPath, is leading the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative’s Clonal Hematopoiesis projectalongside Dr. Pradeep Natarajan and Dr. Kelly Bolton. 

The presence of pre-existing cardiovascular and lung disease are known to be associated with severe cases of COVID-19. Beyond medical comorbidities, age is a strong independent predictor of COVID-19 severity and may be related to age-related changes in inflammatory cells. Clonal Hematopoiesis (CH), the age-related accumulation of somatic mutations in blood, is known to alter the inflammatory profile of healthy individuals and may, in part, be a mediator of its ill-effects including cardiovascular disease and might be a critical determinant in predicting COVID-19 susceptibility and risk of adverse outcomes.  

However, whether CH predisposes to severe COVID-19 or affects the complications of COVID-19 is unknown. In this Subgroup, a team of investigators are seeking to understand the role that CH might play in influencing COVID-19 severity and how acute infection with SARS-CoV-2 might in turn promote clonal expansions in blood and lead to long-term adverse health outcomes.  

Project Objectives: 

  1. Share resources and experience to facilitate COVID-19 Clonal Hematopoiesis research;  
  2. Organize and coordinate COVID-19 Clonal Hematopoiesis analytical studies participating in the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative; 
  3. Provide a platform to share research findings.