McMaster awarded another $20M for COVID-19 research

Haley Zubyk, left, and Kalinka Koteva at work in the Wright lab at McMaster.
Haley Zubyk, left, and Kalinka Koteva at work in the Wright lab at McMaster. Haley Zubyk

Researchers at McMaster University have been awarded $20 million in new funding for 17 COVID-19 research projects.

The grants are through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and their funding partners and are in addition to $9 million in COVID-19-related research announced earlier this month and supported by the federal and provincial governments, foundations, private companies and philanthropists.

Jonathan Bramson, vice-dean of research for the faculty of health sciences, says the funded research spans a range of themes from the development of diagnostics and therapeutics to an investigation of long-term consequences of the pandemic on well-being and mental health.

“This phenomenal success is yet another example of McMaster’s excellence in health research,” Bramson said.

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Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the faculty of health sciences, adds that McMaster has “a tradition of excellence in infectious disease expertise particularly because of our Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.”

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Overall, McMaster received the second-largest share of the COVID-19 Rapid Research funding, which supports 139 projects across the country with a total of $109 million.

In making the announcement this week, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said “accelerating high-quality research and real-time evidence is a priority for Canada” in its fight against the virus.

The projects funded through the CIHR include:

  • A randomized open-label trial of convalescent plasma for hospitalized adults with acute COVID-19 respiratory illness (CONCOR-1) — $2,972,000
  • Anti-coronavirus therapy (ACT) to prevent COVID-19 disease progression: A clinical trial platform — $2,937,000
  • PURE SARS-CoV-2: A prospective urban rural epidemiology (PURE) sub-study — $2,067,000
  • Rapid bench-to-human development of safe and effective aerosol vaccine strategies against COVID-19 — $1,921,000
  • Determinants of community COVID transmission: Learning from the Hutterites — $1,482,000
  • A systematic and living evidence and guideline recommendation map on COVID-19 — $1,456,000
  • A rapid at-home test for SARS-CoV-2 — $1,314,000
  • COVID-19: Comprehensive biomarker analysis for prediction of clinical course and patient treatment outcomes (COVID-BEACONS) — $1,173,000
  • Awake prone position in hypoxemic patients with coronavirus disease 19 — $1,089,000
  • Long-term care in crisis: The reality of COVID-19 — $959,000
  • Medical masks versus N95 respirators to prevent COVID-19 in health-care workers: A randomized trial — $625,000
  • A rapid research platform to inform prevention and improve the clinical management of COVID-19 illness for priority older adult groups: The Ontario multi-regional hospital coronavirus registry (COREG) — $462,000
  • Utilization of an existing longitudinal observational cohort of community adults to characterize the mental health and substance use impacts of COVID-19 — $415,000
  • Venous thrombosis virtual surveillance in COVID (VVIRTUOSO) — $304,000
  • Establishing a research platform for investigating and optimizing personal protective equipment filtration/barrier efficiencies against aerosolized bacteria and viruses in clinical health-care settings — $279,000
  • Living network meta-analysis and rapid recommendations for the treatment of COVID-19 — $276,000
  • Psychological first aid training to address COVID-19-related stressors — $143,000

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