SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon dentistry professor is helping with a national study investigating COVID-19 infection rates, transmission risks, and immune system responses in those working in dental clinics, laboratories, and offices in universities.

“This is an exciting project that has brought all of the Canadian dental schools together to address an area of COVID-19 research that hasn’t yet been explored,” Dr. Walter Siqueira said in a news release.

“My lab has spent significant time standardizing a saliva-based method of testing for COVID-19 which will be an integral part of this project.”

The University of Saskatchewan Salivary Proteomics Research Laboratory is one of only a few labs in the world focused on applied salivary research, the release said.

The study will recruit 800 dental and dental hygiene students, dental residents, faculty and support staff from across the country — 80 participants from each school.

Every month for a year, participants will be asked to provide a saliva sample and complete a COVID-19 related questionnaire.

The Government of Canada is spending $1.4 million through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force for the study.