June 25, 2020

Alberta Innovates invests in COVID-19 Rapid Response

News Release

(Edmonton, Alberta) June 25, 2020… Alberta Innovates and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) are pleased to announce the results of a second partnered investment to stop the spread and lessen the impact of COVID-19.

Launched in April 2020, this second COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity supports the testing and scale-up of promising solutions – from vaccines and diagnostics to health system and policy inventions. Together, Alberta Innovates, CIHR, and other partners are investing $109.7 M over one year in 139 projects across Canada. This includes $15.3 million going to 21 Alberta-led projects, two of which are co-funded by Alberta Innovates and CIHR.

Through the first Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, in April 2020, Alberta Innovates contributed $846,000 towards a total of over $4.2 million that went to eight research teams at the universities of Alberta and Calgary.

Co-Funded Projects

Dr. Steven Drews, from the University of Alberta and Canadian Blood Services, will look at antibody levels in blood samples from people who have had COVID-19. This will help to better understand how people who have had COVID-19 may go on to develop immunity against re-infection.

Dr. Sheila McDonald, from the University of Calgary, will examine preliminary evidence that suggests youth experience reduced mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Identification of the factors that influence family and youth health and well-being during a pandemic is critical to the development of public health communications and strategies to improve outcomes.

Quotes

“COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the connection between health and economic wellbeing, as well as the ways in which both are bolstered by research and innovation. I commend Canada’s researchers and innovators for their strong performance in this competition, including the 21 project leads from Alberta. Equally important is the connecting and leveraging of strengths across the country in the 42 pan-Canadian projects moving forward. Alberta Innovates is proud to support this competition, mobilizing the ingenuity and expertise in Alberta to bring new solutions forward, faster.”
Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“Accelerating high-quality research and real-time evidence is a priority for Canada in its fight against COVID-19. I congratulate the successful teams for their essential work aimed at better preventing, detecting and treating COVID-19 at the individual and population levels. Our government believes that it’s through collaboration and data sharing that we will respond efficiently to this global health emergency.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Health

Alberta-led Projects

InvestigatorInstitutionProjectFunding Amount
Steven DrewsCanadian Blood Services / University of AlbertaPopulation-based seroprevalence of prior infection with COVID-19 in Canada: implications for testing, economic revitalization and population health. $1,005,694
(co-funded by Alberta Innovates & CIHR)
Sheila McDonaldUniversity of CalgaryUncovering longitudinal patterns of resilience and vulnerability in a pandemic: The All Our Families COVID-19 Impact Study$313,415 (co-funded by Alberta Innovates & CIHR)
Gabriel FabreauUniversity of CalgaryThe Anatomy, Determinants and Impacts of the Cargill COVID-19 Outbreak Among Newcomers and their Families in Canada $364,913
Kirsten FiestUniversity of CalgaryUnderstanding and managing the effects of COVID-19 restricted visitation policies on the families and healthcare providers of critically ill patients$298,769
Stephen FreedmanUniversity of CalgaryHousehold Transmission Dynamics and Vial Load among Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infected Children $500,071
Gilaad KaplanUniversity of CalgarySerological Testing to Outline Protocols for COVID19 in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: STOP COVID-19 in IBD $636,750
Paul KubesUniversity of CalgaryImaging COVID-19 Lungs to Uncover Therapies$1,271,404
Joanne M. LemieuxUniversity of AlbertaOptimizing polar, small inhibitors of a viral cysteine protease to identify a lead for an oral COVID-19 treatment$585,228
John LewisUniversity of AlbertaRapid Prototyping and Deployment of a Therapeutic Pan-Coronavirus Fusogenix DNA Vaccine Engineered to Eliminate ADE $4,225,000
Quan LongUniversity of CalgaryInferring undiagnosed sources of COVID-19 infections using viral genomes $99,000
Shannon MacdonaldUniversity of AlbertaVaccination in a pandemic: The impact on routine vaccinations and future COVID-19 vaccine acceptance$334,908
David MarchantUniversity of AlbertaBroad-spectrum Antiviral Nasal Spray to Prevent and treat Infection by SARS-CoV2 and Seasonal Respiratory Viruses in High Risk Patients and Health Care Providers $662,480
Katerina MaximovaUniversity of AlbertaWeathering adversity: toward mitigating the impact of prolonged school closure and social isolation on mental health and lifestyle behaviours of elementary school children $237,371
Patrick McLaneUniversity of AlbertaEquity in Emergency Department Utilization in Alberta for Priority Populations during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring Impacts of Changes to Healthcare and Healthcare Utilization through Administrative Data Analysis and Nominal Group Techniques$93,837
Candace NykiforukUniversity of AlbertaPublic Health Response to COVID-19: Addressing Financial Strain-related Health Impacts of the Pandemic$449,223
Xiaoli PangUniversity of AlbertaDetection and quantitation of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater to conduct surveillance on burden of community infection, identify outbreaks and support public health decision-making on control measures for transmission of COVID-19$487,859
Michael ParkinsUniversity of CalgaryWastewater surveillance of SARS-COV2 to enable real-time clinical case-finding in Calgary$505,310
Ian PatersonUniversity of AlbertaMOIST study: Multi-Organ Imaging with Serial Testing in COVID-19 infected patients$342,369
Sangita SharmaUniversity of AlbertaCapturing the anticipated/unanticipated consequences of COVID-19 (C19) and C19 prevention, management, and treatment strategies (C19PS) among Indigenous peoples (IP) in Arctic communities (AC)$1,517,380
D. Lorne TyrrellUniversity of AlbertaAdvancing a Potent Inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 3CL Protease into Clinical Trials$904,236
D. Lorne TyrrellUniversity of AlbertaCharacterization of interferon-lambda 1 as a treatment for COVID-19$499,775

Alberta Innovates invests in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive provincial economic growth and diversity. We ignite the power of innovation through our work with researchers, industry and entrepreneurs to move Alberta to a lower-carbon future, enhance the responsible use of land and water, and contribute to the improved health and well-being of Albertans.

Alberta Innovates provides technical expertise, entrepreneurial advice and support, opportunities for partnerships, and funding to advance the best ideas. We support a broad range of research and innovation activity – from discovery to use. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do – bringing together bright minds and great ideas to drive innovation.

Find out more at albertainnovates.ca