Government of Canada Supports Research on COVID-19 Treatments for Transplant Recipients

News release

June 9, 2023 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes the lifesaving impact that organ donation has on those in need of a transplantation. Transplant recipients, including approximately 40,000 in Canada, are at high risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. This could be due to many factors, including immunosuppression in transplant recipients, reduced vaccine effectiveness, and recipients having multiple chronic conditions.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced $1.8 million in funding over three years to the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program (CDTRP), hosted by the University of Alberta, to support research to address COVID-19 related issues for transplant recipients. This is part of Health Canada’s Organ Donation and Transplantation (ODT) Collaborative that aims to achieve improvements that result in better patient outcomes and an increase in the number and quality of successful transplants.

By working in collaboration with researchers, health professionals, patients and their families across the country, this project will increase understanding of best practices for transplant patients who have been severely affected by COVID-19. The project activities include assessing the safety and effectiveness of early therapies in transplant patients to provide a better understanding of treatment options available to them; investigating the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on patients and their families to develop strategies to improve their well-being; and evaluating the economic impact and value of emerging and existing therapy options for COVID-19 in transplant patients.

The Government of Canada will continue to work with key partners, including patients, families and patient-based organizations, to improve our health care system and ensure that transplant recipients have timely and effective access to quality donation and transplantation services, wherever they live across the country.


“Organ donation saves lives and with transplant recipients being at a high risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes, we need to increase our understanding of best practices for those who have been affected by COVID-19. By investing in projects like this one, we are supporting the much-needed research related to COVID-19 in transplant patients to improve treatment options available to them. Ultimately this will result in better patient outcomes and better quality of life for transplant recipients across Canada.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Edmonton is a city on the cutting edge of technology, from its expert workforce to scientific innovations and world class educational institutions. The announcement of our support for the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program, hosted by the University of Alberta, will address COVID-19 issues for transplant recipients and ensure that they have access to effective treatments and the best health care services in Alberta and Canada.”

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault
Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, MP for Edmonton Centre

This project and the way it grew came out of the framework that we’ve been striving to build for ten years with CDTRP: nimble, flexible, responsive. It demonstrates the power of the community to come together to identify the needs and priorities, centering patient and family voices.

Dr. Lori West, OC, MD, DPhil, FRSC, FCAHS, FRCPC
Scientific Director, Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program

Quick facts

  • This CDTRP project will also be supported by contributions from AstraZeneca Canada, University Hospital Foundation, Fond de recherche du Québec – Santé and Transplant Research Foundation of British Columbia for a total investment of $2.5 million, including the federal funding.

  • Since 2018, Health Canada has been convening an initiative called the ODT Collaborative (the Collaborative) with provinces and territories (Quebec maintains observer status), Canadian Blood Services, and many additional stakeholders including patients, clinicians and researchers.

  • Through the Collaborative, Health Canada supports targeted projects to address persistent gaps in the ODT system. These projects are working towards a higher-performing system and improved equity of access in living and deceased ODT.

Associated links


Guillaume Bertrand
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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