The Corona Immunitas campaign continues, led by the Swiss School of Public Health SSPH+ and supported by the Federal Office of Public Health, several cantons and numerous companies. USI and SUPSI are also involved in the Swiss-wide research programme for the collection of epidemiological data on immunity to SARS CoV-2, and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the population. On the basis of the objectives of the national initiative, USI and SUPSI combine their expertise to focus on studies in the region through the Corona Immunitas Ticino project.
Corona Immunitas comprises more than twenty studies carried out throughout Switzerland, involving more than 25,000 participants, with the ultimate aim of providing reliable epidemiological data to assist in making informed political and public health decisions. In order to meet the needs of the region and to establish a dialogue between the competent institutions and the population, USI Institute of Public Health (IPH) and SUPSI Department of Business Administration, Health and Social Affairs (DEASS) joined forces with a rich network of stakeholders and partners at cantonal level. Interdisciplinary studies are being carried out aimed at assessing the impact of the coronavirus, its spread and the development of immunity in the population of Ticino.
"Corona Immunitas Ticino incorporates the objectives of the national programme, adapting them to the needs of the region. The research project seeks to measure the impact, consequences and implications of the COVID-19 epidemic in Ticino on individuals, communities, and society at large, and to measure the extent of the spread of the novel coronavirus and immunity in the population of the Canton of Ticino," explains Dr. Rebecca Amati , IPH collaborator and project manager.
Corona Immunitas Ticino - led on USI’s side by Prof. Emiliano Albanese and Prof. Luca Crivelli for SUPSI, both in the role of scientific managers - will thus make it possible to assess the effectiveness of public health measures to limit the spread of the virus, but also to quantify and understand the psychological, social and economic impact of the epidemic. In fact, the data and information will be useful to address the current situation, laying foundations for cantonal policy, preparing the population to cope with potential further pandemic waves, and ensuring a proper response of the health system.
What does the Corona Immunitas Ticino project envisage? "The project runs over twelve months starting July 2020 and includes three studies, explained in detail on the project website : a prospective cohort study involving 8,000 people randomly selected by the Federal Statistical Office invited to fill in questionnaires on their health, thus creating a digital cohort; repeated cross-sectional seroprevalence studies, involving about 4,000 people of different age groups who will give samples to the Cantonal Hospitals; a prospective case-control study, to assess in people with antibodies the proportion of re-infection and the duration of immunity" explains Amati. To be implemented within a year it needs the involvement and support of the territory. With the establishment of the Covid-19 fund, USI and SUPSI wish to promote a targeted fundraising at regional level to support Corona Immunitas Ticino and the academic research and teaching activities related to coronavirus. The projects are carried out in collaboration with local authorities and institutions, in particular Ente Ospedaliero Cantone and the Department of Health and Social Affairs of the Canton of Ticino, in the name of transparency and complementarity between the proposed studies.