Le gouvernement du Canada finance 49 nouveaux projets de recherche sur la COVID-19  – détails des projets financés

Document d'information

Mise à jour (2 avril 2020) : Grâce à une contribution de Research Manitoba, Research Nova Scotia et Alberta Innovates, les IRSC ont pu octroyer trois subventions supplémentaires, ce qui porte le nombre de subventions octroyées à 99, pour un investissement total de 54,2 M$.

Afin de poursuivre sa contribution à l’offensive mondiale menée contre l’éclosion de COVID19, le gouvernement du Canada investit 25,8 M$ supplémentaires dans la recherche. Cet investissement provient des fonds de 275 M$ accordés pour la recherche sur les contre-mesures médicales en réponse à la COVID-19, annoncés par le premier ministre le 11 mars 2020.

Les fonds investis soutiendront 49 équipes de recherche, qui étudieront puis mettront en œuvre des mesures pour dépister, gérer et enrayer rapidement la transmission du coronavirus. Ces fonds supplémentaires s’ajoutent aux 27 M$ annoncés le 6 mars, portant à 52,6 M$ l’investissement total du gouvernement dans la recherche sur le coronavirus destiné à soutenir 96 équipes de recherche au pays. 

Le gouvernement a financé à hauteur de 26,8 M$ la première série de projets de recherche sur la COVID‑19 par l’intermédiaire des IRSC, du Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRNSG), du Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada (CRSH), du Comité de coordination de la recherche au Canada (CCRC) dans le cadre du fonds Nouvelles frontières en recherche (FNFR), du Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI) et de Génome Canada.



Détails des projets financés

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Contre-mesures médicales

Prise en charge clinique

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Murthy, Srinivas
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
COVID-19: Improving the Evidence to Treat an Emerging Infection Through Observational Studies and a Randomized Trial The clinical management of COVID-19 remains unclear. First, we do not know what the disease is yet; we are still learning a great deal about what it causes in humans. We do not know what treatments to give, what risk factors are present for severe disease, and how long people are sick. We are proposing a national observational study of hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19, with an embedded randomized clinical trial of an antiviral agent. The observational study will build on work that we have been doing for the past four years, with pre-established protocols and data collection infrastructure just for this purpose. The randomized clinical trial will be with global collaborators to make sure that Canadian patients inform the world, and vice versa, about how to best treat this new disease. Alongside this, we will conduct surveys of clinicians, researchers, and the public about how they understand this new outbreak, how they feel about participating in research during a major outbreak, and what should be done differently; all of which will inform our clinical studies. Finally, we have been asked by the WHO to conduct a formal guideline for the management of COVID-19, which we will perform as data begins to emerge from the clinical trials that are ongoing. All of these proposals, put together, create a suite of approaches to better understanding and managing a new infection. Our team is large and diverse, and has been prepared for this outbreak for a number of years, and are ready to help Canadians respond in an evidence-informed way. 954 936 $
Kelvin, David J.
Université Dalhousie (Nouvelle-Écosse)
Supplément ACSG
Identification of biomarkers that predict severity of COVID-19 patients The outbreak of the new coronavirus in Wuhan, China has infected over 75,000 people and has caused close to 2,000 deaths. One of the major problems with this outbreak is that emergency rooms, hospitals and ICU wards are over whelmed with patients. In an effort to find a test for rapidly determining who should be admitted to the hospital and who should be placed in ICU, we have undertaken an international study to find a set of biomarkers that can be used to help Emergency Room doctors to make decisions on whether a patient will become severe. We have established an international team based in China, Vietnam, Spain, Italy, Mozambique, Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Cote D' Ivoire and Canada. This team will examine patients peripheral blood for biomarkers that predict the course of disease as mild or severe. The results of the study will be used to make a device that can be used in any situation and rapidly give results to predict the course of coronavirus infections. 1 000 000 $
Jha, Prabhat
Unity Health Toronto
Acute Respiratory Mortality Surveillance (ARMS) for Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19): A globally relevant technology to strengthen mortality surveillance for acute respiratory deaths in many countries lacking complete medical certification of death The current global infectious threat, COVID-19, has not yet been widely detected in sub-Saharan Africa or other low income countries in Asia. It is almost inevitable that it will reach those places. While unusual spikes in infection-related deaths can register quickly in higher income countries and in China, they can go unrecognized for weeks or months in low-income settings where even very ill people do not go to a hospital, infecting others. Detecting a mortality signal is important and may be the first step in recognizing a serious outbreak. We propose to build on our extensive experience using verbal autopsy (VA) in the long-running Indian Million Death Study, and ongoing studies in China, Hong Kong, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone to develop an enhanced verbal autopsy module to identify deaths from COVID-19. This will serve as a model for the next novel pathogen-as near as possible to real time in settings without routine medical certification of death. We will test three hypotheses: #1 An "Acute Respiratory Mortality Surveillance" (ARMS) module can be added quickly to the WHO VA instrument and validated against hospitalized cases and deaths (paired with epidemiological information and machine learning) to distinguish COVID-19 from other causes of respiratory deaths. #2 Early deployment of ARMS in China, Hong Kong, India, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia will help establish baseline distributions of usual acute respiratory deaths, as a comparator for COVID-19 deaths, and to inform modelling. #3 Effective knowledge translation of an open-source, widely-available ARMS module will improve the global response to COVID-19, particularly in the lowest income countries and help to improve mortality assessments for any subsequent COVID-19 waves. A successful ARMS will contribute to stopping the current outbreak and add novel surveillance tools. All materials and results will be made available globally to ensure the broadest use. 956 320 $
Freedman, Stephen B.
Université de Calgary
(nouveau)
Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Children Potentially Infected by SARS-CoV-2 Presenting to Pediatric Emergency Departments The manifestations of COVID-19 in children are not yet well understood, and may be atypical when compared to adults. We propose to carry out a two-year global prospective study that will enroll and follow-up children with suspected COVID-19 from 50 participating emergency departments (ED) across 19 countries. Patient epidemiological and demographic information, clinical characteristics, and disease outcomes, will be collected at the time of ED admission, during the course of illness, and at three weeks and three months after enrollment, using WHO-compliant case report forms. Statistical analysis of the collected data will allow for the identification of risk factors associated with children having confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, and/or severe COVID-19 outcomes. In order to enable rapid implementation, this study will be built as a parallel study that borrows the infrastructure from an ongoing study - the called Pediatric Emergency Research Network (PERN)-Pneumonia study, which has ethics approval, a centralized database, data sharing agreements, and established study teams that are actively enrolling children in 70 sites worldwide. Our multidisciplinary team of investigators includes pediatric infectious disease and emergency medicine clinicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, and public health leaders (from PHAC and the CDC), all with extensive experience pertaining directly to the research topic. As data will be shared in real-time with appropriate national and international authorities, this study will enable policymakers to make rapid evidence-based adaptations to case screening and management procedures that will then allow for the earlier identification of children at high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 outcomes. Furthermore, the establishment of this global multi-site study will be the first trial of a rapid PERN response to a novel virus, which, applying lessons-learned, can be urgently reactivated for future public health emergencies. 788 631 $
Russell, James A.
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Host Response Mediators in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection The coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic continues to grow exponentially affecting over 71,429 individuals with 1775 deaths (February 17, 2020), mostly in China but also in other countries. WHO and others are launching clinical trials of novel anti-virals. We have a unique opportunity to complement trials of anti-virals with investigation of modulation of the human host response to improve outcomes of COVID-19. We are proposing to "repurpose" a class of drugs (ARBs) for hypertension (high blood pressure) that have been shown to prevent lung injury in influenza and could work on corona because influenza and coronavirus bind to the same cell receptor in the lung. ARBs are commonly prescribed for high blood pressure (50-70% of patients). To date, there have been no clinical studies of ARBs in COVID-19. We call our study ARBs CORONA. We believe that ARBs can decrease the severity of COVID-19 and mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 infected adults. We will evaluate safety and effectiveness of available ARBs in COVID-19 in a multicentre study of 497 hospitalized adult patients who are or are not already on ARBs. Key personnel are in place to expedite this study. If this study is successful, ARBs can potentially limit complications and mortality of COVID-19. Potential results: ARBs are inexpensive clinically available cardiovascular drugs. If this study is successful, ARBs can potentially be used globally to limit complications and death due to COVID-19. 255 970 $
Wen, Xiao-Yan
Unity Health Toronto
(nouveau)
Therapeutic Development for COVID-19 Coronavirus Induced Sepsis and ARDS Targeting Vascular Leakage The new coronavirus COVID-19 is threatening to become a global pandemic for which currently no effective drugs exist. Although development of vaccines and drugs targeting the virus are ramping up, none of these addresses host response of COVID-19 infections directly. CAVID-19 death is mainly caused by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which arises from a dysregulated host immune response and associated vascular leakage from viral induced sepsis. Our proposed drug development efforts aim to control the host response and protect patients from ARDS and death. My lab developed a novel zebrafish sepsis model to screen and identify drug compounds that rescue sepsis-associated mortality and vascular leakage. This project will pursue two main research objectives: (1) develop our best anti-sepsis candidate drug UNC0642 for treatment of COVID-19 induced sepsis/ARDS, and (2) carry out drug screens to identify and repurpose existing drugs as anti-COVID-19 therapeutics. UNC0642 inhibits G9a and GLP enzymes responsible for gene regulation. Severe viral infection leads to an immune over-response which drives vascular leakage and results in multiple organ swelling and ARDS. We hypothesize that UNC0642 will protect coronavirus patients from organ swelling and decrease ARDS and mortality by controlling immune-associated gene expression. Dr. Wen has extensive expertise in virology, transgenic animal modelling, clinical medicine and drug development needed to carry out the proposed project. A collaboration with Dr. Samira Mubareka is in place to start COVID-19 virus work at University of Toronto's CL3 lab. Once developed, UNC0642 will become a first line treatment of severe COVID-19 infection. Because of the tragic outbreak of COVID-19 infection in China, regulatory filing for clinical trials in China are likely expedited, especially for repurposing existing drugs. COVID-19 mouse and zebrafish models developed will be rapidly shared with other coronavirus research groups. 953 819 $
Lellouche, François
Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec - Ulaval
(nouveau)
Automated Oxygen Titration, Monitoring and Weaning in patients with infectious pneumonia requiring oxygen - impact on the number of interventions for healthcare workers. An innovative device to manage patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. COVID study (Closed-Loop Oxygen to Verify that healthcare workers Interventions Decrease during pneumonia) Automated oxygen titration, weaning and monitoring (FreeO2 device) may be a solution to reduce the number of interventions of healthcare workers (which is directly related to the risk of transmission of COVID-19. There is a high risk of transmission of COVID-19 to healthcare workers. in a recent cohort, 29% of the patients hospitalized were healthcare workers. Among the main WHO's strategic objectives for the response to COVID-19, the first was to limit human-to-human transmission including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers. Every measures that potentially reduce the number of interventions during the management of patients infected by COVID-19 should be evaluated. Oxygen therapy is the first line respiratory support in all patients hospitalized for COVID-19 during initial management. Recent recommendations are to accurately titrate oxygen to avoid hypoxemia and complications-related to hyperoxia (local and systemic inflammation, vasoconstriction through reactive oxygen species production, acute myocardial infarction). In addition, around 1/3 of the patients will deteriorate their clinical condition and require admission to intensive care units; consequently, a close monitoring is required during initial management. We will conduct a randomized controlled study comparing Automated oxygen titration and monitoring (FreeO2) vs. Manual oxygen titration and weaning in patients hospitalized for infectious pneumonia requiring oxygen therapy. The patients will be included in Canadian sites within the first 3 days of admission and will be evaluated during 24 consecutive hours, including 4 hours at bedside. Two hundreds and sixteen patients will be included in the study. The primary endpoint will be the number of interventions for oxygen management Secondary endpoints will include the oxygenation parameters and the oxygen consumption. 829 476 $

Diagnostics

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Berezovski, Maxim
Université d'Ottawa
Development of a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for COVID-19 A novel zoonotic coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has recently been identified in patients with an acute and potentially fatal respiratory disease (COVID-19). This virus is genetically similar to SARS and MERS coronaviruses. The outbreak started in the city of Wuhan (China) and then soon turned into a pandemic with over 60,000 clinical cases and at least 1,500 fatalities. Cases in healthcare workers and other close contacts indicate human-to-human transmission. Rapid, simple and specific point-of-care diagnostic tests are urgently needed for the quick isolation of those infected. To address the issue, we have assembled a team of specialists in chemistry, infectious diseases, and clinical diagnostics. We propose to develop rapid point-of-care tests based on aptamer-assisted graphene oxide (AptaGO) and paper enzyme-linked aptamer assays (p-ELAA) for SARS-CoV-2 and its surrogate (HCoV-229E), which is a Containment Level 2 (CL-2) pathogen. The aptamer-based sensors can rapidly (<3 minutes) and specifically bind to the virus proteins with a measurable color/fluorescence change. In addition, AptaGO-based a low-cost (<$1 per test) platform while being ultrasensitive (protein equivalent of <100 virions), thus making them ideal for the proposed use. The tests will be developed in liquid- and paper-based formats: In the liquid format, a few drops of AptaGO will be added to the liquid sample, and the signal read by a fluorescence reader, revealing the presence of SARS-CoV-2 proteins/particles and their concentration. In the paper format, the sample will flow along a paper strip via capillary action (similar to a pregnancy test) and target virus proteins/particles will bind to the aptamers producing a visible line. It is a high-impact and high-reward project considering the devastation the virus has already produced globally with no clear signs of a slow-down. If successful, the developed virus-specific aptamers may be used in place of neutralizing antibodies to treat COVID-19. 398 000 $
Le, Xiaochun C.
Université de l'Alberta
Point-of-care diagnostics of COVID-19 using isothermal amplification and CRISPR technology This research addresses the urgent need of rapid point-of-care diagnostics of COVID-19. The collaborative research is conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of virologists, chemists, infectious disease specialists, front-line practitioners, and public health researchers from the University of Alberta, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Wuhan Institute of Virology (China). The immediate priority focuses on developing two complementary techniques to be performed on-site and in resource-limited settings, in support of rapid diagnosis of COVID-19. The diagnostic innovation takes advantage of the most recent advances in chemistry, molecular biology, genome technology, and nanotechnology. Chemical reactions required for efficient amplification and sensitive detection of the viral RNA take place in a single tube at a moderate temperature, simplifying the operation procedures. The specific reaction products are visible to the naked eyes, thus eliminating the need for any elaborate equipment. The first test reads color changes, with red color indicating negative and blue color indicating positive. Readout for the second test is color band on paper strips, similar to those of pregnancy tests, with two red bands indicating positive whereas a single control band indicating negative. The mid-term priority focuses on validating and evaluating the new diagnostic tests for field applications in the epidemic center of COVID-19. Our team members in Wuhan who currently perform the standard diagnostic tests will lead this effort. Once validated and approved, the new diagnostic tools will be used to support screening and diagnosis of COVID-19 at the community level. The mid-term objective also includes adapting the point-of-care diagnostics at other collaborating sites, e.g., Karachi (Pakistan) and Nairobi (Kenya). A longer-term priority of this research includes refining the new diagnostic tools to enable monitoring of mutational changes of the virus as it continues to evolve. 828 046 $
Pardee, Keith I.
Université de Toronto
Rapid, Low-cost Diagnostics and Deployable Surge Capacity for COVID-19 The outbreak of the coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China, highlights the importance of the capacity for a rapid and nimble response to infectious disease. As we have seen, the world in highly interconnected and outbreaks in one region quickly become global concerns. Diagnostics are a key tool in the fight against spread of the virus, allowing frontline responders to quickly triage patients. Over the past five years, our team has developed low-cost and de-centralized paper-based diagnostics that are simple to use and easy to distribute. During the Zika virus outbreak, we developed diagnostics within weeks and have since completed patient trials in Latin America showing performance equal to the gold standard CDC tests used in clinical labs (sensitivity equal qPCR test, 98.5% accuracy). These diagnostic, programmable by design, thus hold promise for managing future outbreaks. Seeking to contribute to the COVID-19 outbreak response, we have already begun the development of diagnostics for the virus and anticipate having validated tools within a month. Here we propose the following project to create a deployable diagnostic infrastructure for the virus: 1) A lab-in-a-box kit that can provide diagnostic surge capacity for COVID-19 (14,000 tests), 2) A package with the "pop-up capacity" to manufacture the diagnostics on-site for sustained response to the outbreak and 3) A point-of-need test for rapid screening of patients (e.g. cruise ships, airports). Such tools are important in Canada but are especially so in countries where health care system do not have the resilience to handle a large outbreak. We have assembled a team of researchers from four countries with expertise in virology, diagnostics technologies and delivering impactful research outcomes. Our goal is a diagnostic platform capable of providing the capacity to respond to COVID-19 here in Canada or aboard, and the companion technologies, protocols and training to ensure effective deployment. 1 000 000 $
Pillai, Dylan R.
Université de Calgary
Development and implementation of rapid metagenomic sequencing coupled with isothermal amplification point of care testing for viral diagnostics Infectious pandemics or plagues have altered human history since the beginning of time. Today we face the threat of viral pandemics spreading through human populations disseminated fueled by the ease of international travel which has become commonplace. SARS, influenza, and now the 2109 novel coronavirus are examples of just a few of these pandemics. We must create novel tools that enable us to rapidly identify the virus and then develop a test that can reliably test for the virus in patients. The test has to be portable and taken to the bedside where patients are quarantined so that these individuals do not further transmit viruses in our hospitals and public places. 957 700 $
Langlois, Marc-André
Université d'Ottawa
Rapid Research Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: Development of Targeted Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Comparative Pathogenicity Assessment In 2019, the world has seen the emergence of a virus that causes pneumonia in humans, which has a high probability of resulting in complications that include acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in an estimated 0.2% to 5% of cases. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus endemic in wild animals that has adapted itself to infect humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2019 outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which is now officially named SARS-CoV-2, a global health emergency. Currently, there is no effective antivirals against this virus. The virus is genetically similar to the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS) and shares many disease features with influenza virus infections. Our team will combine its multidisciplinary expertise to develop genetically engineered antibodies that can be used as therapeutics to limit the spread of the virus, as well as help identify the virus in patient samples. We will also develop a rapid genetic test for SARS-CoV-2 and measure the speed of genetic evolution of this virus compared to other coronaviruses that cause disease in humans such as SARS that caused the 2003 outbreak and the middle east respiratory syndrome virus (MERS). Finally, we will mass-produce the surface viral protein to enable the development of a prototype nasal-spray vaccine. 999 999 $
Boudreau, Denis
Université Laval
(nouveau)
Development of a portable point-of-care device for rapid testing of SARS-CoV-2 The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak that started in December 2019 triggered unprecedented measures to avoid a global pandemic. However, China has been particularly hit with over 70 000 confirmed cases, of which about 80% are in Hubei province. Wuhan, capital city of Hubei, is considered ground zero of the outbreak. Testing is typically performed at centralized facilities with highly qualified personnel operating specialized equipment, RT-qPCR being the current method of choice and DNA sequencing a second choice. The response time between sampling patients and obtaining clinically relevant information usually depends on sample shipping time and clinical lab capacity. In this current outbreak containment situation in China, large portions of the population are quarantined, travel is restricted, and clinical labs are operating well over capacity. We propose to develop a rapid point-of-care test to help mitigate the outbreak of COVID-19. The RNA-based test will be performed with a high sensitivity, label-free sensing method. RNA purification and amplification will not be required. The instrumentation needed will be portable and lightweight to enable frontline workers to rapidly test for SARS-CoV-2. The assay will be developed with an easy-to-use platform that can be operated by untrained personnel. It can thereby be deployed locally, within regions of quarantine at a temporary health centers and neighbourhood clinics, reducing flow of people in urban centers; it can be shipped and used in remote or isolated areas including cruise ships 1 000 000 $
Keshavjee, Shaf
Réseau universitaire de santé (Toronto)
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Reducing the Health Care Resource Burden from COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2): Rapid Diagnostics to Risk-Stratify for Severity of Illness Key to an effective response to the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a method to rapidly identify emergency department patients presenting with symptoms of COVID-19 and are at high risk of progressing to severe illness and death. At University Health Network, our team represents a deeply experienced group of critical care doctors and infectious disease researchers who can immediately respond to the global need to provide an accurate diagnosis of respiratory illness-the main feature of COVID-19-at the front lines of patient care. We have recently developed a 40 minute diagnostic test to determine lung quality for transplantation. Recent scientific studies from China clearly show that the body's development of respiratory distress as a response to potential COVID-19 infection produces an identical injury profile that would be detected by our diagnostic test. We will work alongside SQI Diagnostics, our Canadian partner committed to developing diagnostics for lung health, to adapt our test towards the development of RALI-Dx (Rapid Acute Lung Injury Diagnostic). This diagnostic can be used by hospital emergency departments to screen for lung sickness and the likelihood of COVID-19 infection. An important part of our CIHR-supported research study is a commitment from our Chinese collaborators to safely test our diagnostic first on COVID-19+ blood samples to make sure the test is highly accurate before hospital use. With our 40 minute RALI-Dx test, we will: -Quickly identify the highest risk patients in need of immediate care -Identify lower risk patients who require at-home monitoring -Reduce the current major stress on health care facilities Additionally, new COVID-19 therapies are being rapidly developed around the world, and the first step will be to identify which patients will benefit the most from these treatments. With RALI-Dx, hospitals everywhere can better manage patient care and provide an accelerated response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 970 702 $
Trifiro, Mark A.
Institut Lady Davis de recherches médicales (Mtl)
(nouveau)
Plasmonic PCR: Rapid Point-of-Care COVID-19 Diagnostic Platform. The recent outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates how in today's age infectious agents can spread rapidly. Given the ability of individuals to travel across the globe infectious agents can reach pandemic/epidemic proportions quickly, as seen with SARS and MERS outbreaks. Such viral agents become infectious because of genetic alterations many times occurring in other animals and eventually can infect humans. There are no effective anti-viral agents nor have vaccines been developed. Thus during these outbreaks we can only rely on infection control measures. Such measures help control the spread of the disease but is dependent on verifying individuals who are infected and those who are not infected. Presently diagnosing COVID-19 infections is inadequate as the laboratory tests may take 24-48 hrs to be completed. Such time periods make infection control very difficult. In this proposal we discuss how a rapid testing and diagnosis be made in the order of minutes. We have developed a revolutionary methodology that would construct a diagnostic device which is small and portable, and even be battery operated. Our device would be a true point of care platform that would be used at the "first contact" between patient and health professional. Our point of care testing platform would give rapid result in minutes and would help enormously in infection control management of not only the current COVID-19 outbreaks but also future pathogenic viral outbreaks which are surely to happen. 717 700 $
Unrau, Peter J.
Université Simon Fraser (Burnaby, C.–B.)
(nouveau)
SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Research: Fast track isothermal viral diagnostics COVID-19 is a disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). With no treatment or vaccine currently available, it is imperative that rapid, sensitive, and simple screening technologies be developed that can be fully integrated into near real time medical reporting infrastructure so as to speedily identify viral carriers and slow this and future viral outbreaks. The Unrau laboratory at Simon Fraser University has engineered an isothermal RNA detection kit that reports the presence of RNA template by fluorogenic aptamer (RNA Mango) synthesis in a simple fluorogenic assay (Mango NASBA). This technology, which currently is being commercialised for the detection of pathogens in human tissue culture, can be rapidly adapted for the detection of SARS-CoV_2 and offers several advantages over conventional RT-PCR: 1. Isothermal Mango NASBA viral testing has a considerably simpler work flow than RT-PCR requiring only a simple fixed temperature device capable of detecting fluorescent readout. This offers the potential to implement real time viral testing at venues (i.e. airports, borders, hospitals etc) not normally considered with existing RT-PCR methodologies and that require more costly real-time thermocycler infrastructure to implement. 2. We anticipate that Mango NASBA offers a significant time saving of ~3-4 fold relative to a standard RT-PCR assay (90-120 min) in high viral load samples. Should high sensitivity detection be required, Nested Mango NASBA can be performed subsequently. Nested Mango NASBA has sensitivity directly comparable to RT-PCR and can be performed twice as fast as RT-PCR methodologies. We have assembled a team consisting of biochemists, chemists, virologists, engineers, and clinicians offering deep skills in four highly significant fields to help address this rapidly evolving SARS-CoV_2 crisis. This highly expert team will meet the challenge of detecting and tracking this rapidly evolving viral outbreak. 516 980 $
Pickering, Bradley
Centre scientifique canadien de santé humaine et animale (Winnipeg)
(nouveau)
Development of field-deployable and point-of-need diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 using CRISPR-based technology Current diagnostic testing for the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak requires the use of specialized equipment for molecular-based pathogen detection. The equipment must be housed in a facility with electricity and freezers for storage of temperature sensitive materials and equipment operation. Lateral flow based assays are an alternative diagnostic tool that is inexpensive, temperature stable, user-friendly and has a faster turn-around-time (TAT). However, this platform takes longer to develop, with reduced specificity, sensitivity, and accuracy compared to molecular-based assays. An ideal diagnostic tool combines the adaptability and reliability of molecular assays with the TAT, cost-effectiveness, and stability of lateral flow. Clustered Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) based diagnostics can provide these capabilities and revolutionize the field of point-of-need molecular-based diagnostics. Our goal is to develop CRISPR-based diagnostics to detect SARS-CoV-2 at the point-of-need, such as at the bedside, passenger screening, or returning travellers who may have been exposed. We recently demonstrated that CRISPR-based diagnostics is reliable, sensitive and can be used to detect Ebola virus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious and caused more than 69,000 infections and contributed to over 1,600 deaths. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to quickly diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection to administer appropriate patient care and isolation. CRISPR-based diagnostics is a next-generation diagnostic tool that can provide results in a timely manner and fill this gap. Implementation of CRISPR-based diagnostics will complement our armamentarium against high-consequence pathogens and will address the need for faster, cheaper, and more robust diagnostics for emerging infectious diseases of public health concern. 411 820 $
Croxen, Matthew A.
Université de l'Alberta
(nouveau)
Rapid RNA sequencing of coronavirus for public health surveillance and transmission There is an ongoing worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus. As of February 18 2020, nearly 73,500 cases have been identified and 1,875 deaths reported. To prevent further spread and to understand how the COVID-19 virus is spreading, where it came from, and when it likely jumped from animal to humans, the genome sequences of these viruses have been instrumental in providing insights. So far, Canada has reported 8 cases of COVID-19 (5 in BC; 3 in ON). However, no Canadian genomes have been made publicly available. In contrast, over 102 genomes have been released from several other countries including China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and the United States. Here, the Public Health Laboratory in Alberta, Edmonton and Calgary and the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg have teamed up with genomics, bioinformatics, microbiology and infectious disease experts to address this challenge. We are verifying a direct RNA sequencing method capable of accelerated inexpensive sequencing of COVID-19 virus genomes. We aim to roll out this rapid method into Canada's frontline operations, along with direct analysis to promote global sharing and uptake of needed genome information. The lab methodology and data analysis will be openly available to help the global response in combating this disease. 788 040 $
Whelan, William M.
Université de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard (Charlottetown)
(nouveau)
LabAnywhere: Technology for Detection of Coronavirus in Remote Settings The COVID-19 disease is caused by a virus. Since the symptoms of the COVID-19 disease are similar to many other illnesses, accurate detection and correct identification of the virus in a patient is important to know whether or not the patient is suffering from COVID-19 versus another disease. The current gold-standard detection uses sophisticated molecular biology that must be done in a laboratory by trained technicians. Our research team has developed LabAnywhere, a system intended for rugged use in agriculture. Its called LabAnywhere because it is designed for use in a barn or farm field where there may not be any clean enclosed space to do complex sample handling. The viruses are different in veterinary medicine, but with some modifications, the technology can be applied to human diseases in remote settings. The proposed research will piggyback upon existing projects. The research team; a design engineer, along with experts in medical biophysics, protein chemistry, and veterinary diseases have been testing a pen-side system for the livestock industries. The design is a simple, easy to deploy handheld system for a molecular biologic assay where there is no laboratory available, such as on a ship at sea or in a remote community many days travel from a laboratory. The project will use easily handled, safe viruses from the animal world for initial testing to validate the methods, then move to tests using human viruses once initial trials are complete. 355 982 $
Sanati Nezhad, Amir
Université de Calgary
(nouveau)Note en bas de page *
Rapid, Ultrasensitive Clinical Detection of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (nCOVID-19) by Novel Microfluidic Electrochemical Nano-Biosensors In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerged in the city of Wuhan, in China and has spread widely, including Canada. In a few weeks, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection has dramatically increased. Currently, 20-25% of confirmed cases have severe clinical presentations. With no vaccines nor specific treatments, early confirmation before progression to late stages would provide more time for effective supportive treatment. The traditional detection process requires that samples from sick individuals be transported to laboratories for manual processing. This is extremely inefficient and introduces a significant time-delay that has severe consequences for disease spread. Since January 2020, tests have become increasingly available for clinically suspected patients. However, despite the high sensitivity of these methods, they are not suitable for rapid and large-scale screening for multiple samples because of their long analysis time. Moreover, these methods need skilled personal to perform and not suitable for point-of-care testing. Most of these assays have not been yet adopted for COVID-19. The objective of this project is to develop a novel diagnostic tool for rapid detection of early-stage COVID-19. The device will have an impact to timely inform and refine strategies that stop the spread of the disease. 795 560 $

Traitements

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Zhang, Haibo
Centre de recherche Keenan (Toronto, ON)
Supplément ACSG
Molecular and cellular therapies against COVID-19 using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) An epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread rapidly in China and 27 other countries. As of 15 February 2020, over 69,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, with 1,666 deaths. The enormous health, economic and social impact clearly make it paramount to better understand the pathogenesis of COVID-19, as no specific drugs are available to combat COVID-19. To address this issue we have put together a world-class international research team of basic scientists and clinicians who have a track record of working together and have access to resources [SARS-CoV-2, cell and animal models, a candidate drug, biotech company, and patients (in China)]. This research proposal focuses on the role of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a SARS-CoV-2 receptor to enter human body. We propose to do basic studies to examine the specific mechanisms involved, as well as to perform a clinical trial in COVID-19 patients in China using recombinant human ACE2 (rhACE2). 1 000 000 $
Lemieux, Joanne M.
Université de l'Alberta
Synthesis, Structural Studies and Evaluation of Inhibitors of the 3CL Protease of SARS-CoV-2 as Potential Drugs for Treating Infection The Wuhan coronavirus, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, is viewed as a global health emergency since its 1st appearance in China in Dec 2019. Coronaviruses are spread through close contact from coughs & sneezes, but may also spread from animals, feces or contaminated surfaces. As of Feb 2020, > 44,730 people are infected in China and >1114 have died (97 in a single day). Seven cases have been reported in Canada. This disease, Covid-19, could become a pandemic unless appropriate measures or cures are found. In past work on a similar coronavirus from China, Severe Acute Respiratory Virus (SARS) prevalent in 2002-03, our group modified inhibitors for a protein it produces and requires, namely the 3CL protease. This protein is essential for replication and infectivity of that SARS virus. Genome sequencing of the current "Wuhan" virus, SARS-CoV-2, demonstrates that it also has a 3CL protease that is nearly identical (96% the same). Of the 306 amino acid residues in the chain that makes the 3CL protease of the "Wuhan" virus (SARS-CoV-2), only 12 are different and they are highly similar in properties. Recently, chemical compounds we previously made for the original SARS 3CL inhibition were slightly altered and one new derivative was shown to cure cats of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a natural mutant of feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). This infection is almost always fatal, but the key compound effected cures or significant remissions in all the cats. We propose to make the key compound and a series of its analogs by chemical synthesis. In addition, we propose to clone and express the 3CL protease (non-infectious) of the Wuhan coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). We propose to assay all synthetic compounds as inhibitors of the 3CL protease, and to obtain X-ray crystal structure pictures of the protease with these potential drugs to facilitate further inhibitor design. In a virology lab, compounds will be examined for their ability to kill the virus in infected cell lines. 714 250 $
Götte, Matthias
Université de l'Alberta
Development and Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA Polymerase Inhibitors Coronaviruses (CoV) can cause severe human respiratory diseases, which is documented by three major outbreaks over the past 17 years: SARS-CoV in 2003, MERS-CoV in 2011, and currently SARS-CoV-2. In response to the current COVID-19 outbreak caused by SARS-CoV-2, we oppose to develop novel tools to discover, develop and evaluate inhibitors of the viral polymerase. The polymerase is an enzyme that is essentially required for the propagation of SARS-CoV-2, which makes it an attractive target for therapeutic intervention strategies. 675 000 $
Sidhu, Sachdev S.
Université de Toronto
Rapid development of antiviral compounds to fight the COVID-19 outbreak The outbreak of a respiratory illness (COVID-19) in China at the end of December 2019 has been demonstrated to be caused by a new coronavirus. While health officials are using quarantine methods to try and prevent the spread of the infection, there are currently no treatments for the illness, which can be severe and even lead to death in 2% of cases. Here, we propose to build on our previous research with viruses of the same family, which include those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). We have previously successfully engineered small proteins capable of blocking the activity of an enzyme of the virus that is crucial for its replication and for shutting down the human immune response. We plan on using a similar strategy to build blockers of the new virus. These will be extremely useful in better understanding the biology of the virus. Most importantly, we will use these blocking proteins to find chemical drug candidates that block the activity of the viral enzyme in infected cells, which can then be developed as therapeutics. Our method is rapid and cost efficient, and within the two years of this grant, we expect to have a number of lead candidate drugs. In order to achieve these goals, we have assembled a team of leading scientists with expertise in protein engineering of viral inhibitors (Sachdev Sidhu, University of Toronto), structural biology of viruses (Brian Mark, University of Manitoba), and development of chemical drugs (Roman Melnyk, SickKids Research Institute, Toronto). Our project also has the support of an internationally recognized leader in viral biology (Marjolein Kikkert, Leiden University, Netherlands) and a frontline clinician-scientist in infectious diseases (Samira Mubareka, Sunnybrook Health Centre, Toronto). Ultimately, this work will generate critical tools to better understand this new virus, and most importantly, will provide novel candidate drugs for direly needed therapies. 886 090 $
Leduc, Richard
Université de Sherbrooke
Supplément ACSG
Preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection by targeting human type II transmembrane serine protease activity The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causing COVID-19 has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization which has mobilized international scientists to collaborate in order to find therapies to counteract the virus's effects which can be devastating. The strategies need to be as vast as possible since we do not yet know if vaccines or other antiviral drugs will be efficacious. Our group had previously shown in the context of influenza infection that the human host has cell-surface proteases (called type II transmembrane serine proteases or TTSPs) that the virus requires in order to cleave a viral surface protein called hemagglutinin, itself essential for the virus to gain entry into the cell and further replicate using the host cell machinery. We had shown that small molecules inhibiting the activity of lung epithelial cell proteases were efficacious at significantly reducing influenza virulence demonstrating novel anti-viral properties of the compounds. The situation is similar with the SARS-CoV-2 virus but the protein found on the surface of the virus is different. This protein is called the spike glycoprotein (or S protein) and it requires cleavage by human host cell proteases of the TTSP family for its virulence. Our proposal will test protease inhibitors in models where cells are expressing the S protein and the most potent molecules will then be validated in lung organoids to verify their efficacy at reducing viral propagation. We have put together a team of molecular pharmacologists, chemists and virologist with access to containment level 3 facilities to rapidly assess the potential anti-viral properties of the compounds that we already have on hand. In addition, our team will be supported by Dr. Gary Whittaker, Cornell University, one of the world's expert in coronavirus biology. We believe that these conditions are very favorable for us to have a quick impact in the field and to deliver novel antiviral compounds for patients with COVID-19. 856 000 $
Boivin, Guy
CHU de Québec
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Innovative therapeutic approaches for the 2019-novel coronavirus The 2019-novel coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) is a major sanitary and economical threat to all countries. Development of effective antivirals is a major global priority especially early in the epidemic when vaccines are unavailable. This proposal aims at discovering and evaluating active compounds by rational design through 3D modeling of key viral proteins and also by analyzing cellular gene signatures induced by the virus. In-depth evaluation of selected compounds will include in vitro, ex vivo (human bronchial epithelium tissues) and in vivo (animal models) studies. These approaches, mostly based on drug repurposing (new indication for an existing drug), will result in rapid identification of anti-SARS CoV-2 compounds with accelerated clinical development. 894 910 $
Cherkasov, Artem
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Augmented Discovery of Potential Inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 3CL Protease The COVID-19 epidemic is causing serious or even fatal respiratory tract infections around the city of Wuhan, China and other countries. The urgent situation is pressing the global community to respond rapidly together to develop a vaccine or small molecule drug to inhibit viral infection. We have recently established a powerful Deep-Learning accelerated Docking pipeline to virtually screen a commercial 1.3-billion-compound library in a matter of one week--compared to the three years with previous programs. We have applied this novel algorithm to identify 1000 quality "candidate" compounds to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (3CLpro) which is uniquely critical for the viral life cycle. We will screen these compounds with a high throughput screening biochemical assay and then evaluate these hits using a cell-based SARS-CoV-2 viral replication assay in a Canadian Containment Level 3 facilty at University of British Columbia. In addition we will use X-ray crystallography to refine the protease 3D crystal structure to accelerate the development of COVID-19 therapeutic drug development. Our research program will significantly contribute to global response to the COVID-19 outbreak by rapidly identifying small anti-viral drug molecules in an extremely condensed timeframe. Our expertise, facilities, and capabilities in cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence, inhibitor modeling, X-ray crystallography, coronavirus protease inhibition, human viral pathogen research, and anti-viral therapeutics are world class. Our first application this month of "Deep Docking" enabled the screening of 1.3B commercially available compounds against the essential SARS-CoV-2 protease, in 1 week compared to the 3 years of conventional docking. This accomplishment coupled with fast tracking anti-viral assays at UBC and high resolution 3D structure characterization provide our team, Canadians and global colleagues an enormous head start on developing an anti-viral therapeutic for COVID-19 999 000 $
Rini, James M.
Université de Toronto
(nouveau)
Neutralizing Antibodies as SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutics Three highly virulent coronaviruses - SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 - have crossed species barriers to infect humans since 2003. SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for COVID-19, a disease that arose in Wuhan China in December of 2019. The virus has infected over 64,000 people and caused 1,380 deaths and the World Health Organization has declared it a public health emergency of international concern. Although drastic measures are being taken to contain SARS-CoV-2, there is an urgent need for new therapeutics to combat this virus and reduce its spread. In this work we will develop therapeutics based on human antibodies that can be used in the treatment of COVID-19. 535 318 $
Jan, Eric
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Host cellular protein substrates of SARS-CoV-2 proteases The recent outbreak of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (2019-2020) leading to COVID-19 disease in China and worldwide has led to increased urgency in identifying strategies to mitigate the spread of coronavirus infection and treat infected individuals. No established treatments exist, thus there is a need to identify antiviral targets. As evidenced of recurring SARS-CoV (2003) and MERS-CoV (2012) outbreaks, there is also a need for long-term preparations to counteract future emerging coronavirus outbreaks. Currently, the pathogenic mechanisms that lead to COVID-19 and related SARS/MERS-CoV diseases are not understood. In this study, we will identify the host proteins that are targeted by a viral protein called a protease using an unbiased proteomics approach. Identifying the protein targets of SARS/MERS-CoV proteases will reveal into the protein sequence that binds to the proteases. We will engineer and optimize decoy protein sequences that will effectively block SARS/MERS-CoV protease function and thus, inhibit SARS/MERS-CoV infection. Uncovering the proteins that are targeted by the SARS/MERS-CoV proteases will also provide a catalog of the host processes that these viruses affect, thus gaining insights into the pathogenic mechanisms that lead to COVID-19 disease. 331 212 $
Côté, Marceline
Université d'Ottawa
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Drug repurposing for the rapid development and evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antivirals The initial symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, shortness of breath and a dry cough. For some patients, the disease progresses to pneumonia as the infection spreads to the lung and leads severe inflammation. These severe symptoms can cause difficulties for the lungs to oxygenate the blood and can lead to death. There are currently no antivirals against SARS-CoV2, the causative agent of COVID-19, and development of new molecules can take years to reach patients. As the COVID-19 epidemic is progressing rapidly, the need for antiviral therapy is urgent. Therefore, our goal is to use our current arsenal of approved drugs already tested for their safety and used in the clinic for various conditions and repurpose them to treat COVID-19. In this rapid response grant, we propose to identify drugs with activity against SARS-CoV2 in vitro and in vivo and contribute to the global COVID-19 response and provide a therapeutic option for patients developing life-threatening disease. 415 686 $
Wright, Gerard D.
Université McMaster
(nouveau)
Targeting genetic and chemical vulnerabilities of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 The recent outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in China and its continued international spread threatens to become a global pandemic. Although coronaviruses generally cause mild respiratory infections in humans, over the past 18 years, three animal-derived coronaviruses have emerged that cause much more severe disease: SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and the current SARS-CoV-2. Each of these emergent viruses cause substantially higher death rates than common coronavirus infections; the current estimate of the death rate due to COVID-19 syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection is ~2.5%. The main challenge in addressing these new coronavirus-associated outbreaks is a lack of suitable therapeutics to treat active disease (i.e., anti-viral drugs) or to prevent disease (i.e., appropriate vaccines). We propose to apply genomics-based tools and drug-screening platforms to rapidly pinpoint new targets for SARS-CoV-2 anti-viral agents and to identify candidate therapeutic compounds. Our team has deep expertise in anti-infective drug discovery, the application of genomics in identifying drug targets, and in the biology and biochemistry of RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Our project will identify new therapeutic strategies that may help to treat COVID-19 patients. These strategies will also help mitigate newly emergent coronavirus-associated diseases that will undoubtedly continue to cause outbreaks in the future. 982 704 $
Moitessier, Nicolas R.
Université McGill
(nouveau)
Development of COVID-2019 main protease inhibitors as potential antivirals against the 2019 coronavirus. Coronaviruses are associated with a variety of human diseases ranging from the common cold to new and serious conditions such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which emerged in 2002, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), first reported in 2012, and a recent and still growing outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. MERS and SARS together claimed over 1600 lives, and the death toll of COVID-19 recently passed 1300 and is growing rapidly. It is currently unclear if the COVID-19 outbreak can be contained, with some estimates of potential fatalities reaching as high as 50 million. There is currently no approved treatment for any coronavirus, although clinical trials of the Gilead compound Remdesivir are currently underway and there is some optimism that it may be effective against SARS-CoV-2. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need for additional potential SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics, as the success of Remdesivir is far from assured. We are proposing to use a combination of computer calculations and laboratory testing to rapidly identify and validate molecules that block an enzyme that is essential to the virus. The targeted enzyme, known as 3CLpro, is responsible for processing viral proteins into their active forms. A detailed 3D structure of the SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro enzyme was recently solved, and this provides enough information to identify chemical structures of molecules that are likely to block its action, through a procedure known as virtual screening. We will synthesize promising compounds and test them against the purified enzyme using a technique known as Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC). Our team has a proven track record of using virtual screening and ITC to generate potent inhibitors of enzymes similar to 3CLpro. Molecules we identify are likely to prevent the virus from replicating and would have high value as new potential treatments for COVID-19 that could be used alone or in combination with other therapies 203 000 $
Woodside, Michael T.
Université de l'Alberta
(nouveau)
Targeting programmed ribosomal frameshifting as a therapeutic strategy against 2019-nCoV The new coronavirus 2019-nCoV has spread rapidly in the last 3 months, infecting tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries and killing over 1,000, with no preventive vaccines or medications that can treat it. We propose to search for possible drugs to treat 2019-nCoV by targeting the ability of the virus to hijack the cell's machinery and recode how the genome is read via programmed ribosomal frameshifting (PRF). Coronaviruses use PRF, which is triggered by a specific structure (a 'pseudoknot') in the viral genome, to produce essential enzymes in specific ratios. Suppressing PRF in SARS coronavirus-which is very closely related to 2019-nCoV-disrupts viral propagation and significantly reduces infectivity, suggesting that PRF inhibitors could be used to combat 2019-nCoV. We will search for potential drugs that bind to the 2019-nCoV pseudoknot and disrupt PRF. We will first build a structural model of the pseudoknot by combining computational simulations with measurements revealing the base-pairing patterns and higher-order structures in the RNA. We will then use high-throughput computational tools to screen large libraries of existing approved drugs (which could be deployed rapidly), as well as publicly-available chemical compounds, for binding to the pseudoknot. Compounds predicted to have high binding affinity will be tested experimentally to confirm their binding-quantifying the binding affinity, identifying the binding site, and showing that binding alters the pseudoknot structural dynamics (thought to be important for triggering PRF)-and to measure their effectiveness at inhibiting PRF in cell extracts. We will examine if the effects of the compounds are specific to 2019-nCoV by repeating all measurements using other RNA structures as controls. Lead compounds will be passed on to collaborators for future studies assessing their effectiveness against live virus and suitability for deployment as therapeutics. 370 700 $
Wu, Jian Hui
CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal-Hôpital général juif
(nouveau)
Repurposing of FDA-approved drugs as novel therapeutics for COVID-19 Currently, there is no vaccine or effective therapeutics for COVID-19, which is caused by 2019-nCoV (now officially referred to as SARS-CoV-2). Tens of thousands of people get infected by SARS-CoV-2 and substantial percentage of them showed severe symptoms. Dr Wu's team proposed to rapidly screen database of FDA-approved drugs by computationally approaches and further evaluate the top-ranking candidates by an array of experimental assays. This project could rapidly lead to drug candidates for COVID-19. 478 000 $
Bach, Horacio
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Neutralizing human-derived single-chain antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that has caused an epidemic of human respiratory disease (COVID-19). It first emerged from the city of Wuhan in Hubei in December 2019 and has since spread widely in China and to more than 24 counties globally. The virus has been declared as a deadly global threat, and accelerated international efforts have been engaged to control the virus. A total of 1,524 deaths been confirmed as of 15th February 2020 (WHO). As a result of the rapid transmission internationally, a global call to control the spread of the virus in affected and non-affected areas has been implemented. Currently, there is no effective treatment or vaccine to control the virus. Symptoms of the infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, the infection can cause respiratory failure, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death. The objectives of this application are 1) to develop antibodies that will block the entrance of the virus into the cells, and to test the efficacy of these antibodies in mice. 395 600 $
James, Michael N.
Université de l'Alberta
(nouveau)
Towards anti-COVID-19 therapeutic development by targeting the viral papain-like proteinase When positive-stranded RNA viruses such as the causative agent for the 2019-2020 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak enter an infectious cycle in the cell, their RNA genomes hijack the host cell's protein production machinery to mass produce large continuous viral polyproteins in a process called translation. In order to make progeny viruses, these viral polypeptides need to be processed into smaller, individually functional protein programmed to perform specific tasks, e.g., replicating the RNA genome, assembling the protein coat for progeny viruses, packing the newly synthesized RNA genome into the assembled viral capsid, and subverting or disabling the host cell's antiviral defense mechanisms. Two virally encoded proteinases, the papain-like (PL) and the 3C-like (3CL) proteinases, carry out the job of "clipping" the viral polypeptides into individual viral proteins. The PL is translated before the 3CL hence it likely takes precedence in performing "cuts" in the polyprotein, releasing an initial batch of viral proteins to mount the first wave of suppressive attack on antiviral host defense. In addition, coronavirus PL directly participates in preventing type I interferon activation, an important step leading to antiviral defense. Last but not the least, PL1 is part of non-structural protein 3 (NSP3), which is an indispensable component of the membranous complex where viral RNA genome is replicated. Taken together, PL of the novel coronavirus makes a good antiviral target for the development of therapeutics. Inhibiting PL would not only halt viral protein and RNA production at an early stage but would also help restore host antiviral defense. In this proposal, we seek to solve the 3-dimensional structure of SARS-CoV-2 PL and then use the structural knowledge to aid our search of small molecules that can inhibit the functions of PL. We will work with our collaborators to optimize the top inhibitors and test these inhibitors in cell and animal infection models. 311 000 $
Ng, Kenneth K
Université de Calgary
(nouveau)Note en bas de page *
Design and evaluation of novel inhibitors targeting SARS-CoV-2 polymerase to create lead compounds to develop more effective treatments of COVID-19 The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which causes COVID-19 produces a key enzyme, nsp12, essential for replicating the viral genome. In combination with the sequence of nsp12 from SARS-CoV-2, previous studies on closely related enzymes from other viruses provide insights into how nsp12 functions. Our analysis indicates how the specific structural features of nsp12 provide new opportunities for creating inhibitors with higher activity and specificity, and thus likely to act as more effective medications for treating COVID-19. Our models of the 3D structures of nsp12 bound to RNA and drugs like remdesivir indicate how existing inhibitor compounds developed to treat other viral diseases could be modified to work more effectively for treating COVID-19. We propose to synthesize a series of modified inhibitors tailored to fit the structure of nsp12 and then test the activity of these inhibitors on purified nsp12 using a previously published assay procedure. The ability of different inhibitors to disrupt the activity of nsp12 will be measured using this assay. The most effective inhibitors will be cocrystallized into a hybrid form of the norovirus polymerase to provide timely structural information about how inhibitors are likely to bind to nsp12. This structural information will help to further refine the design and improvement of the next generation of inhibitors. Promising inhibitors will be passed on to collaborators and the general community to evaluate their effectiveness in cell culture infection models and ultimately in human clinical trials. We expect to synthesize the first series of novel inhibitors within 4-6 months and to be able to evaluate their activity by the end of 2020. Additional structural characterization will take another 4-6 months. Based on this information, a second generation of inhibitors will be prepared and characterized by the end of the 2-year project. 416 000 $

Dynamique de la transmission et hôte animal

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Fisman, David N.
Université de Toronto
Understanding, Forecasting and Communicating Risk During the COVID-19 Epidemic A new infectious disease, COVID-19, has emerged worldwide. Canada has experienced few cases, but there is great concern about the possibility of a Canadian COVID-19 epidemic. Canada has a history of preparing for and managing disease outbreaks caused by new viruses (SARS, H1N1, preparing for Ebola). For many people inside and outside the public health community, an important part of preparation is having access to accurate, timely, reliable information about how the disease is spread, who is at risk, and who is not at risk. Public health professionals often want the answers to three basic questions about epidemics: "when will it peak?"; "when will it end?"; "how big will it be?". Our team of doctors, epidemiologists, public health professionals, and statisticians has experience responding to past outbreaks like SARS, H1N1 and Ebola. We are already actively involved in analysis and modeling that is helping public health agencies and the general public understand the COVID-19 epidemic, and "see what's around the corner". We have proposed a three-part project, which will use math and statistical modeling to: (i) forecast the near-term course of the epidemic; (ii) gain better understanding of the parts of the epidemic that are hidden from view, by analysing data that are public, but often messy or noisy; and (iii) use our information to build simulations that can help guide Canadian health agencies as they try to control or limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Throughout this project, we will be creating infographics and tools that let Canadians inside and outside the scientific community gain a better understanding of how epidemics spread, who is truly at risk, and what it takes to make epidemics end. By providing timely information to Canadians, we will help reduce the fear, xenophobia and anxiety that are often part and parcel of emerging infectious diseases. 331 683 $
McGeer, Allison J.
Sinai Health System (Toronto)
RIsk of environmental Surface and air Contamination in COVID19 (RISC-COV) This study has three goals. First, we will collect clinical and epidemiologic information about COVID-19 in Toronto and Peel region to share with ISARIC studies of the risk factors for, clinical features and outcomes of this infection in Canada and around the world. Second, we will collect data about how long patients with this infection shed virus, and whether this virus can be found on surfaces and in the air around patients with this infection, in order to help guide infection prevention practice. Third, we will systematically collect samples containing the virus, serum and cells of the immune system, in order to create a biobank that can be shared with investigators developing vaccines and treatment for this disease. 493 140 $
Flamand, Louis
CHU de Québec
Understanding the pathogenesis of COVID-19 Pulmonary infections by viruses such virulent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MeRS) CoV associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Clinically, infections by these viruses are associated with a pronounced lung inflammation, causing respiratory problems that often develop in secondary pneumonia. Inflammation is the result of immune activation in response to infection. When activation is too pronounced or sustained for extended periods of time, complications occur. Two main mediators of inflammation are known: Cytokines and lipid mediators of inflammation (LMI). In the current proposal we will study the inflammatory response during infection/exposure of lung and blood cells to the newly described COVID-19 and compare this response to that of SARS-CoV-2 and MeRS-CoV to obtain correlates of pathogenicity between these viruses. We will use primary lung cells and white blood cells from donors to conduct our studies. The mediators of inflammation will be identified and quantitated using state of the art methodology available in our laboratories. More than 200 LMI and 150 cytokine/cytokine receptors will be examined. Upon completion of this proposal, a detailed analysis of the response of primary epithelial cells and leukocytes to COVID-19 will be obtained, enabling the rational design of therapeutic strategies to help combat COVID-19. 392 900 $
Bogoch, Isaac
Réseau universitaire de santé (Toronto)
Harnessing human mobility and surveillance data for disease forecasting to drive evidence-based public health policy during the COVID-19 epidemic COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan, China in late December 2019 and is currently spreading to international destinations, globally. At the time of writing, cases have been confirmed in 24 countries worldwide. Of major concern are early indications of human-to-human transmission outside of China in those without a travel history to China. During the two months of this epidemic, public health policy has adapted rapidly to emerging information about disease location, disease burden, and clinical features of COVID-19. Public health screening and interventions will need to continuously evolve over the course of this epidemic to keep up with new foci of infection and potential new regions of COVID-19 exportation. We aim to harness validated tools to predict where COVID-19 will spread in real time by using a novel, AI-driven web-based surveillance tool coupled with real-time human mobility data. This surveillance system identifies regions with real or suspected cases of COVID-19. We simultaneously harness global commercial air transportation data and geo-referenced mobile device data to reflect human mobility, also in real time. We have successfully validated these tools for COVID-19 forecasting during the course of this epidemic and published our results in peer-reviewed literature. We will first use the AI-based surveillance system to identify regions with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases. We will then model the spread of infection from these locations by harnessing human mobility data to identify and forecast new regions (at the city, regional, and national level) for virus importation. We will work closely with our partners in the World Health Organization, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to use this data to help drive evidence-based public health policy in real time, with a focus on global projection strategies, and strategies for low and middle income countries in Southeast Asia. 674 800 $
Prystajecky, Natalie Anne
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
Supplément ACSG
Rapid Response to Emerging Serious Pathogen Outbreaks using Next-gen Data: R2ESPOND A new virus has been identified from Wuhan City in China from the coronavirus family (SARS-CoV-2), which is now responsible for more than 71,000 cases of illness (COVID-19 disease) in over 29 countries. Although there have not yet been any deaths in Canada, public health agencies are on high alert, as there is a real possibility of a serious epidemic. The WHO has declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern. As of February 14th, five COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in British Columbia and based on travel patterns there is every reason to expect additional cases in BC. There are many unanswered questions regarding the virus, how it spreads and the disease that it causes. This information is needed for a data-driven response to this outbreak. We aim to use two types of next-generation data (next-gen genomics data and next-gen human data), along with a data integration tool called PLOVER 2.0, to answer these unknowns. The research team will 1)Carry out rapid genomic sequencing on patient samples to study the virus, how it spreads, how it evolves and predict which drugs will work 2)Develop knowledge of how the virus characteristics, along with a patient's previous health conditions, impact the severity of illness and how they recover from the illness 3)Develop a software tool (PLOVER 2.0) that will allow us to carry out this research and will also make the data viewable by key stakeholders such as Medical Health Officers. This work will not only generate critical knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus but will also help develop a better understanding of health outcomes for infected patients. The knowledge generated and tools developed by this research can ensure an evidence-based and cohesive response to this public health emergency, here in Canada and internationally. 1 000 000 $
Mossman, Karen L.
Université McMaster
(nouveau)
SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in human and bat cells and development of in vitro and in vivo infection models Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus - 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in December 2019 and has infected over 60,000 people, of which over 1,800 have died. SARS-CoV-2 shares 96% similarity with a coronavirus found in bats. Bats have been shown to carry a diversity of viruses including coronaviruses globally, without showing signs of disease. Also, major circulating and endemic coronaviruses that are causing disease in humans are speculated to have evolved in bats. Our team's extensive experience in studying coronaviruses in bat and human systems, will allow us to understand interactions of SARS-CoV-2 in bats and humans using a holistic 'One Health' approach. The main objectives of our proposal are to investigate how cell anti-viral responses are induced in human (spillover host) and bat (reservoir host) cells, and to develop animal models to facilitate rapid testing of vaccine candidates and therapeutics. 788 000 $
Tan, Darrell H.
Unity Health Toronto
(nouveau)
COVID-19 Ring-based Prevention trial for Undermining Spread (CORPUS) Despite efforts to contain COVID-19, the potential for a global pandemic necessitates the rapid evaluation of strategies for prevention of COVID-19 in close contacts of new cases. Lab data, animal models and early clinical data suggest that a drug commonly used to treat HIV, called Kaletra, may have activity against COVID-19 and its closely related "cousin" coronaviruses, SARS and MERS. Kaletra is currently being tested in clinical trials in China for treatment. This drug has been safely used for over two decades in HIV treatment and also in post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for un-infected people with high-risk exposures. We propose a study that will address the immediate need for prevention interventions by testing whether or not giving Kaletra PEP to contacts exposed to COVID-19 will stop them from getting the disease. We expect to test this in three key groups of exposed contacts: the frail elderly in nursing/retirement homes, frontline health workers, and household/community contacts. Our trial employs a commonly used approach in vaccination studies called a ring design, which also allows us to collect detailed information about the natural history of the infection in exposed contacts. In addition to testing the effectiveness of our specific intervention, the master protocols and procedures developed can be used to test other prevention interventions including both medications and vaccines, once they become available. This ring design was a key part of the successful eradication of smallpox, and the evaluation of the vaccine used for Ebola. We will identify a ring of exposed close contacts around index cases and randomize these rings to a 14-day course of Kaletra PEP or a placebo control and will test contacts systematically to see if they develop COVID-19. Our study team members of Canadian experts on the frontlines with SARS, MERS, H1N1, Ebola, and HIV, are well connected to coordinate with existing clinical trials networks both in Canada and internationally. 1 000 000 $
Liang, Chen
Institut Lady Davis de recherches médicales (Mtl)
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Understand the high pathogenicity and zoonotic transmission of the COVID-19 virus: evasion of host innate immune responses Coronaviruses are not new to humans. The human coronaviruses OC43 and 229E were discovered as early as in the 1960s. Both viruses cause common cold, a mild infection of our upper respiratory tract. However, the story started to change in 2002 when SARS broke out in China and other countries. This outbreak was caused by a new coronavirus which originally came from bats. Most importantly, this SARS coronavirus is highly pathogenic, with a fatality as high as 10%. Ten years later, a more deadly coronavirus caused the MERS outbreak. Now, a new coronavirus came back, is raging in China, may cause a global pandemic if not controlled. This new virus, COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2), has infected more and killed more than the total number by both SARS and MERS. Two urgent questions need to be addressed. How did these coronaviruses transmit from animals into humans? What have made them so pathogenic and lethal? Humans are protected from viral diseases by the immune system. These pathogenic coronaviruses must have found ways to evade the immune responses so that they can spread in humans and cause fatal illness. We thus propose this research to elucidate how this COVID-19 virus does this. The findings will identify the key viral genes that suppress immune responses by blocking essential signaling pathways. Our results will open new avenues for the development of effective interventions to halt the COVID-19 break. 480 000 $
Joy, Jeffrey
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
(nouveau)
Genomic epidemiology and evolutionary dynamics of COVID-19 and other emerging corona viruses Emergence of the 2019 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has highlighted the severe impact emerging zoonotic pathogens have on human health, the global economy, and health service delivery. Phylogenetic analyses of SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences improve our understanding of host reservoir species, assess the potential for transmission to humans, and illuminate evolutionary dynamics relative to other viruses in Coronaviridae, informing response to current and future epidemics. We will study the genomic evolution of SARS-CoV-2 to investigate if particular motifs are under selection for increased virulence and immune evasion. We will compare SARS-CoV-2 with genomes of other zoonotic coronaviruses to elucidate common genomic features associated with virulence, host switching, and human-to-human transmission. We will also evaluate spatiotemporal transmission patterns of SARS-CoV-2 across different populations using Bayesian phylogeographic analyses. Such analyses allow identification of spatially and temporally structured, clinical and epidemiological parameters such as the basic reproduction number, period of infectiousness, and true viral prevalence over time within different populations. We will also elucidate the reservoir host species of SARS-CoV-2 in concert with collaborators from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control as well as other Canadian researchers by probing unique environmental samples as well as both novel and existing datasets available for coronaviruses. Phylogenetic co-speciation analysis will explore whether coronaviruses are more likely to jump between phylogenetically proximate host species allowing development of a predictive framework to anticipate future zoonotic events. We will identify genomic factors of SARS-CoV-2 associated with virulence, estimate vital epidemiological parameters, and illuminate potential reservoir species. With the Chinese CDC, we will help focus the response, control and elimination of the current, and future, coronavirus outbreaks. 315 000 $
Moghadas, Seyed M.
Université York (Toronto, Ontario)
(nouveau)
Evaluation of Intervention Strategies in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreaks With the global spread of the novel coronavirus virus and potential for a COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization declared a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern", recognizing an extraordinary event that requires coordinated efforts to contain disease outbreaks. Research to evaluate intervention strategies can help decision-makers to identify the type and intensity of control measures needed for containment. We propose to investigate the severity and healthcare resource utilization during potential outbreaks, estimate the transmissibility and the percentage of the population that could be affected, and predict clinical outcomes and critical care demand. We will use modelling and simulation for nearly real-time estimates of public health and healthcare interventions in Canada, the US and India. Our specific research objectives are to: 1) Predict the scope of disease transmission, potential outbreaks, and clinical attack rates. 2) Project what hospitals will require for isolation, ambulatory services, emergency and hospital admissions, and critical care of symptomatic patients. 3) Assess the potential effects of various non-pharmacologic interventions, including quarantine, self-reporting and isolation, and school closure. 4) Evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine and determine best scenarios to distribute a vaccine based on population age and risk of disease severity. To achieve these objectives, we will develop new and adapt existing mathematical models to simulate the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in outbreak scenarios. Our team has access to a number of databases including daily reports on incidence of confirmed and suspected cases, hospitalization, and deaths attributed to COVID-19 in China. Using demographics of the Canadian, US, and Indian populations, we will evaluate the effectiveness of vaccination strategies, hospital surge capacity, and social policies such as quarantine and closing schools. 264 434 $
Murty, Vijayakumar
The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences (Toronto, Ontario)
(nouveau)
Agent-based and multi-scale mathematical modelling of COVID-19 for assessments of sustained transmission risk and effectiveness of countermeasures The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences, in collaboration with the Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the Atlantic Association for Research in Mathematical Sciences, together with the Public Health Agency of Canada and international partners, is assembling a national COVID-19 Mathematical Modelling Rapid Response Task Force. Our goal is to mobilize a national network of infectious disease modellers to develop mathematical technologies to assess transmission risk of COVID-19, project outbreak trajectories, evaluate public health interventions for its prevention and control, and inform public health policy makers as well as multi-scale modelling to assist in the development of effective treatment strategies. Such a network functioned during SARS and was successful in providing real-time advice to public health officials. In the case of COVID-19, in addition to the mathematical modellers drawn from across Canada, we have the partnership of the Public Health Agency of Canada and its Coronavirus Modelling Group, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Sasketchawan, the Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation facility at York University and several research institutes in China including one at Xi'an Jiaotong University. 666 667 $

Vaccins

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Falzarano, Darryl
Université de la Saskatchewan
Supplément ACSG
Animal models for SARS-CoV-2: vaccines and immune enhancement In December 2019 a novel coronavirus (CoV) was identified as the cause of pneumonia in a cluster of patients in Wuhan, China. This virus is related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV and has been named SARS-CoV-2. In less than two months, there have been over 69,000 cases and over 1,600 deaths. Quarantine measures have been imposed on entire cities in China in an attempt to control spread. Cases of SARS-CoV-2 have been identified in 28 other countries and there is concern that this could lead to global pandemic. Here we propose to identify what common lab and agricultural animals may be infected with SARS-CoV-2. This addresses two important questions. What animals can be infected and may pose a risk (or are at risk) and can these animals be used to models. Animal model allow us to understand how the virus causes disease, whether vaccines can be developed that protect from disease and how might the virus be transmitted. These are critical questions that need to be addressed when a new pathogen emerges. In addition, there is some concern that less than optimal vaccines or previous exposure to related pathogens could exaserbate disease - this is a somewhat unique phenomenom that was observed with SARS-CoV vaccines. We plan to investigate whether these animal models can be used to test for this, to ensure that vaccines are safe prior to testing in human clinical trials. 999 793 $
Kobinger, Gary P.
Université Laval
Development of vaccine candidates and monoclonal antibodies to interrupt the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The novel coronavirus (Covid19) that emerged in Wuhan, China is a threat to global health. Infection causes respiratory disease that can progress to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and even death. Often patients require hospitalization and intensive care, which increases the chance of viral spread within health care settings. Since it was first identified there have been over 69000 cases, and 1600 deaths, and the virus has spread to multiple countries. Currently, there are no vaccines or therapeutics, but these are urgently needed to bring the epidemic under control. Our proposal seeks to address these areas of need by a multifaceted approach. Specifically, the objectives of this proposal include: 1) Isolation of virus and generation of an in vitro reverse-genetics COVID-19 system 2) Identification of neutralizing antibodies 3) Development and evaluation of candidate vaccines Additionally, the project will generate data on the safety of candidate vaccines in humans through a phase I trial. This will help determine which vaccines can be advance for further study. This will be accomplished through synergistic research between the biotechnology companies Medicago and Inovio in conjunction with several academic research laboratories. Dr. Kobinger's group has an established track record of translational research, and has successfully brought a DNA-vaccine against MERS-CoV to phase I clinical trials 24 months after commencing the project and in less than 7 months for Zika virus. He has led multinational collaborations in the past, and has a history of promoting collaborative and transparent consortium-based research programs. This proposal will develop tools that can be shared with the world scientific community that will help further our understanding of viral pathogenesis, transmission as well as screen potential small-molecule inhibitors and antibodies. Collectively, the findings from this project have potential to contribute to global response against COVID19. 999 356 $
Leclerc, Denis
CHU de Québec
Development of a nanoparticle-based vaccine candidate to the SARS-CoV-2 The recent outbreak of the coronavirus in the province of Wuhan in China is an international concern since there is a risk for spreading the infection outside the Chinese territory. The spreading of the virus is facilitated by its human to human transmission by aerosols. Several approaches must be taken to limit the spread of the virus, including quarantine, the decontamination of infected areas, early detection in patients, etc. It is also widely recognized that vaccination is from far the most efficient approach to control the spreading of the infection and protect the population. We propose first the development of a vaccine component-1 to the SARS-CoV-2 based on the use of an immune enhancer nanoparticle coupled to peptides derived from the virus nucleocapsid. This vaccine will trigger a protective immune response against the virus. The use of peptide antigens allows moving very fast in the development of the vaccine candidate. Besides the speed, this approach has the merit to induce a broad CTL immune response that should also trigger protection to any strains of the virus that are related to the Wuhan virus, like the SARS virus of 2002. Second, we will design and prepare a second vaccine component that will elicit the production of neutralizing antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2. Finally, both components will be combined in one vaccine formulation that will provide robust protection to the SARS-CoV-2 and also to related viruses, like the SRAS virus of 2002. The nanoparticles used to attach the vaccine antigens are very stable. The coupling to the nanoparticle will stabilize the antigens and generate a very stable vaccine formulation that can be stockpiled for a long period (years) without loss of integrity. This is an advantage because to insure preparedness to other epidemics with related viruses. 717 645 $
Houghton, Michael
Université de l'Alberta
(nouveau)
Production of a recombinant S ( spike ) protein vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and emerging coronaviruses In December 2019 a human coronavirus (CoV) outbreak causing pneumonia-like symptoms began, centered around a fish market in the Wuhan district of China. After the genomic sequence was determined the causative pathogen, SARS-CoV-2, showed 99.98% identity among 9 patients, was 88% identical to two bat SARS-like CoV, ~79% identical to SARS-CoV, and ~50% identical to MERS-CoV (Tan 2020 Lancet). SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV were responsible for severe human illness and mortality (~10% in 2002 and ~35% in 2013, respectively). Although understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 disease is ongoing, it is believed human-to-human transmission is possible and the disease fatality rate is ~2-3%. In early February 2020, WHO reported >31,000 confirmed human infections, >640 deaths, and declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, presumably due to the possibility of a pandemic. The coronavirus 2019 outbreak is the third coronavirus outbreak causing a severe human disease in the past ~20 years. Currently a coronavirus prophylaxis vaccine and therapeutic drugs are not available. In this application we describe the investigation of vaccine candidates. Our team has manufacturing experience expressing a subunit Hepatitis-C virus vaccine candidate and has developed methods for industry-scale vaccine purification using removable purification tags (Logan 2017 Journal of Virology). This work will identify a CoV vaccine candidate that can proceed to the creation of a manufacturing grade mammalian cell line. 750 000 $
Yao, Xiao-Jian
Université du Manitoba
(nouveau)
Development of a novel DC-targeting vaccine that targets COVID-19 spike protein to control COVID-19 infection COVID-19 is a coronavirus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness that was first detected in Wuhan, China. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The spike protein (SP) of the virus is the key molecule for entry into a cell and is a main target of host protective immune responses. A receptor-binding domain (RBD) located in SP is essential for the infection of COVID-19. Previous studies have demonstrated that RBD of SARS-CoV consists of multiple neutralizing epitopes that induce highly potent neutralizing antibodies. The neutralizing antibody can bind to SARS-CoV and interferes with its ability to infect a cell. These findings suggest that RBD of COVID-19 is an ideal anti-COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen-presenting cells that play critical roles to efficiently present viral antigens to the T cells of the immune system. Therefore, targeting DCs is a promising strategy to improve vaccine effectiveness. Recently, we have developed a highly efficient DC-targeted vaccination technology, and in this study, we will use this vaccination technology to expose the RBD of COVID-19 to host immune system. We will also investigate the potential of this novel vaccine approach to elicit potent immune responses against COVID-19 and SARS-CoV infections in vivo. The success of this proposed study will lay the groundwork for the quick development and production of anti-COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and contribute to a rapid response towards controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in China and worldwide 597 128 $
Barr, Stephen D.
Université Western Ontario
(nouveau)
Supplément ACSG
Shutting down emerging Coronaviruses in humans now and in the future In December 2019, a pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Wuhan, China. This disease is now named COVID-19. Over 73,000 people have been infected worldwide and over 1,700 people have died from the disease. There is no sign that the rate of new infections and deaths are levelling off or showing signs of declining. Similar coronavirus outbreaks in the future are always a risk and must be addressed now. The goal of this proposal is to establish and test an effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we will develop a coronavirus vaccine bank containing hundreds to thousands of potential vaccines that can be used at the start of the next coronavirus outbreak. This will give us a head start in trying to treat patients early with the goal of reducing the spread of the disease and subsequent fatalities. 998 840 $

Contre-mesures sociales et stratégiques

Coordination, gouvernance et logistique

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Smith, Maxwell
Université Western Ontario
Ethical Pathways for Therapeutics and Vaccine R&D in the Context of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern: An Analysis of the 2013-16 Ebola Outbreak to Rapidly Inform COVID-19 R&D A cross-cutting research priority identified by the recent WHO COVID-19 Global Research and Innovation Forum is the establishment of appropriate ethical oversight and global collaboration to accelerate COVID-19 R&D, and to establish these in such a way that promotes solidarity and equity. Yet, the existing COVID-19 research roadmap and WHO R&D Blueprint are largely silent on the global ethical pathways required to guide and oversee rapid therapeutics and vaccine R&D in this context (including whether and how such pathways ought to be modified, or precisely what solidarity and equity require for these activities). To identify and successfully navigate these ethical and regulatory pathways for COVID-19 R&D, we can look to the unprecedented R&D response to the 2013-16 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak for guidance. Only five months following the development of the first study protocols for EVD, the first patients were enrolled in clinical trials. Only four years later, the first vaccine was licensed in the United States. The atypical expediency of these R&D efforts was, in part, a product of significant modifications and adaptations to the usual ethical and regulatory pathways for health product development-pathways that involve ethical inputs into study protocols, independent ethics review of studies, global consultation and governance, data sharing agreements, and the approval, licensure, and dissemination of resulting products. This project will for the first time (1) analyze and describe the ethical pathways for R&D that existed or were established for EVD in order to aid the global research community in navigating these pathways for COVID-19 R&D; (2) analyze and describe the ethical pathways as they are established and navigated for COVID-19 R&D in order to rapidly support ongoing and future COVID-19 R&D; and (3) compare and conduct an ethical analysis of the ethical pathways for EVD and COVID-19 R&D to inform future R&D during epidemics. 283 656 $
Lee, Kelley
Université Simon Fraser (Burnaby, C.–B.)
Understanding non-compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005): Recommended strategies to inform and strengthen global coordination of the COVID-19 outbreak response Outbreaks such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can result in inappropriate, excessive and counterproductive measures that hinder global coordination of outbreak response. Moreover, they compound loss of life and illness by contributing to unnecessary social and economic disruption, and can discourage countries from open reporting for fear of retaliation. For these reasons, the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) included recommended, evidence-based measures for detection, containment and control based on available data. These measures adhere to International Health Regulations (IHR) principles concerning human rights, proportionality, and unnecessary interference with trade and travel. Yet preliminary analysis suggests a higher number and range of non-compliant measures are being adopted than previous PHEICs. The goal of this project is to strengthen global coordination of the COVID-19 outbreak response through a fuller understanding of crossborder measures adopted, their likely positive/negative impacts, reason(s) for adoption, and strategies to increase compliance. This project applies a mixed-methods approach to achieve 4 objectives: a) define, categorize and track crossborder measures adopted during the COVID-19 and previous outbreaks; b) systematically review existing evidence of their public health and wider impacts; c) understand decisions to adopt compliant or non-compliant measures in 4 case study settings (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and US); and d) identify strategies to encourage increased compliance. Working closely with key knowledge users, including WHO, we will collect and analyze new data, and combine it with our existing datasets to conduct real time quantitative cross-outbreak analysis. The key outcome of this project is to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 through practical, evidence-informed strategies that strengthen global coordination. 499 922 $
Fafard, Patrick
Université d'Ottawa
Senior public health leadership during the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak: Comparative approaches to mitigating the spread of infectious disease and its social consequences in Canada and abroad During an infectious disease outbreak, senior public health leaders work diligently to contain its spread, manage the medical and social impact, and try to counter misinformation and prevent discrimination. The emergence of a novel coronavirus has vividly demonstrated the need for clear, timely, and accessible information from trusted and authoritative public figures. In many countries, the virus has been accompanied by the spread of false information, racism, and panic. These factors heighten the risks of the virus for individuals and communities and complicate the challenges public health leaders face in containing it. The proposed research will systematically analyze the ways in which public health leaders in Canada and four other countries with similar public health systems are addressing the biological and social risks of the novel coronavirus in their public messaging across a range of platforms, including social media. Using text analysis of official communications and one-on-one interviews with public health leaders, we will analyze and compare how government spokespeople, including Chief Public Health Officers and Ministers of Health, are communicating medical advice, addressing misinformation, and tackling racism. We will also examine whether and how they identify different impacts of the virus based on sex and gender. The project will additionally collect public polling data to investigate the extent to which these public health communications are received, understood, and trusted by citizens in different countries. As a result of this project, we will have a better understanding of who speaks for the government during an outbreak, the kind of information they share, and how their messages are understood by the public. 308 690 $
Wilson, Kumanan
Institut de recherche Bruyère
Canada's response to Covid-19 in the context of the IHR(2005) and its opportunity to lead in global health security: a policy analysis On January 30th, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus originating in the city of Wuhan, China an international health emergency. Guided by global rules (the International Health Regulations), the WHO has taken action to limit the harm caused by the virus while at the same time protecting the international travel and trade. This grant will determine how Canada has adhered to these global rules and what it can do to support them. We will review stories from the media, important policy documents and other relevant materials. We will also interview key people in Canada and around the world involved in protecting the public from these threats. We will specifically examine if there is an opportunity for Canada to help lead efforts to protect the world from similar threats in the future. 212 397 $
Labonté, Ronald
Université d'Ottawa
Towards Better Governance of Zoonotic Disease Risk: One Health Principles in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response The unfolding 2019-nCov outbreak presents an opportunity to establish a real-time monitoring infrastructure to study how One Heath principles are implemented in the global governance of infectious diseases (IDs). Through employing rapid environmental scan methodology and building on already existing research collaborations, we will be able to produce immediate results focused on the global coordination and response system that can feed into better global governance of 2019n-Cov, improving evidence-based decision-making and enhancing international collaborative efforts to mitigate the spread of 2019-nCov. 499 304 $
Zhong, Lexuan
Université de l'Alberta
(nouveau)
Mitigation strategies against the public transmission of airborne COVID-19 in high occupancy structures: a program of research to develop optimized mechanical ventilation systems This research program brings together experts in Engineering and Medical Sciences to develop Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI) related to mechanical ventilation systems in buildings. These settings have high concentrations of humans in enclosed spaces where the spread of airborne infections can have rapid, extensive, and detrimental consequences in terms of morbidity, mortality, and ultimately productivity and costs. This research program targets a key mechanism of COVID-19 transmission, that is, transport of the virus through heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with subsequent inhalation by other people. Currently, it is not clear how human-generated bioaerosols affect airborne virus transmission and how HVAC systems should be optimally designed and operated to reduce the risk of transmission. This research program will include: 1) a thorough review of building science literature related to airborne virus transmission; 2) a policy directive for governing organizations who inform owners and operators of ventilation systems and building code bodies; 3) an inventory and assessment of over 100 buildings with diverse ventilation systems; and 4) an inventory and assessment procedure and protocol for other buildings. This research directly aligns with the objectives of the funding opportunity, in particular, to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its potential negative consequences. Based on the research results, we will develop evidence-based guidance and policy recommendations to inform the design/re-design of buildings. This work has the potential for widespread impacts in terms of establishing policy and procedures that can be applied locally, nationally and internationally. Further, this research will inform the immediate response to the COVID-19 outbreak while having a broader impact in terms of the spread of other airborne illnesses/contagions and future outbreaks. 444 000 $
Neumann, Patrick
Université Ryerson (Toronto)
(nouveau)
Modelling and Minimising the Impacts of Infection Control Routines on Nurse Workload in Acute Care Under Varying COVID-19 Outbreak Scenarios COVID-19 is taking a significant toll on front-line healthcare providers- especially nurses with over 1700 infected and 6 deaths to date. It is no surprise that nurses are questioning the safety of current SARS-CoV-2 infection control routines. These routines also pose extra work in a system where nurses are already working to capacity. If nurses are overworked, then fatigue develops and errors start to occur. Anticipating the demands and required extra personnel for an unknown number of incoming coronavirus patients is difficult. This research team will tackle this problem in two ways. First, we will work with nurses and professionals to refine their infection control routines so as to minimise the workload while simultaneously creating highly reliable safety routines. Secondly, we will develop an approach to creating computer simulations of two emergency departments that allow nurse workload and care delivery times to be precisely quantified. By modelling the care delivery process we are able to see the impact of varying severities of coronavirus outbreaks on the nursing team and, ultimately, how this extra workload affects their ability to deliver the care required to all patients in the unit. This project is a collaboration between researchers at Ryerson University and personnel at the University Health Network. The team will work collaboratively to engage front line personnel in developing the simulation model and co-designing improved infection control routines. The computer models, of two emergency departments with front-line responsibility for coronavirus patient treatment, can be readily adapted to other similar units across Canada. These models provide next-generation decision making support for managers who have to anticipate the unknown impacts of coronavirus, and be prepared to deliver the highest quality of care in ways that are safe for both patients and nurses. 172 710 $
Ng, Koi Yu Adolf
Université du Manitoba
(nouveau)
An Investigation on Epidemic Logistical Response and Planning: The Case of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Effective mitigation to the impacts of sudden, large-scale epidemic outbreak is a key issue as it poses substantial impacts on human lives and society. As numerous urban and social activities involve logistics, it means that effective epidemic logistical response and planning is key to secure social security and prosperity, now and the future. Hitherto, however, there is a serious scarcity of knowledge on how the logistical system can adapt to epidemic outbreak. There is an urgency to investigate whether epidemic logistical planning approach is appropriate. Hence, by focusing on Covid-19, the goal of this project is to develop effective logistical strategies and solutions to tackle the social impacts caused by sudden, large-scale epidemic outbreak so as to enhance the resilience of cities, countries, and societies. It strives to achieve five key objectives: 1) to investigate how individuals and societies with difference characteristics (e.g., age, jobs) perceive and react to the social impacts of and logistical strategy in tackling Covid-19, 2) to identify attributes that can catalyze information sharing and coordination between cities and countries in epidemic logistical planning, 3) to identify ways that can facilitate the transfer of strategies and solutions to cities and countries under diversified geographical and cultural contexts, especially those with relatively weak health systems, 4) to investigate how governments plan and respond to the different logistical needs of society in the outburst of a sudden, large-scale epidemic at different stages; and 5) to develop strategies, solutions, and a supporting framework to governments and societies to mitigate the rapid spread of Covid-19 in terms of logistical service control, especially for vulnerable groups and areas. By improving the logistical response and planning, we strongly believe that this project will secure healthier and more secure societies in Canada, China, and around the world in the long term. 258 900 $
Toyasaki, Fuminori
Université York (Toronto, Ontario)
(nouveau)
Countermeasures to the supply chain disruptions in medical and pharmaceutical industries The intended research project focuses on the supply chain disruptions that medical/pharmaceutical industries are currently facing in the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, due to the suppliers' strategic hoarding and consumers' panic buying behavior under psychological and behavioral uncertainties. Specifically, this proposed research project explores: factors that delay the resilience of medical/pharmaceutical industries' supply chain disruptions caused by the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak; and the feasibility of two countermeasures to the virus outbreak that we propose: (1) establishing a collaborative stock sharing/transshipment system; and (2) making an incentive contract with a potential second source that can produce highly customized medical/pharmaceutical items (e.g., protective clothing for or a new drug for novel viruses). 130 600 $

Interventions en santé publique et leurs répercussions

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Parsons Leigh, Jeanna J.
Université Dalhousie (Nouvelle-Écosse)
Socio-Cultural Implications of COVID-19: Educating, Engaging & Empowering the Public A novel infectious disease, COVID-19, is affecting mainland China and is now in at least 27 other countries. Since December 2019, over 67,000 people have been infected and more than 1,500 have died. Infectious disease outbreaks pose a severe threat to the physical and mental health of individuals and populations worldwide. A better understanding of social and cultural factors that contribute to public knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19 are needed to develop evidence informed strategies to combat misinformation, stigma and fear. In response to this challenge this study proposes to develop a national knowledge translation (KT) campaign to enhance public knowledge, understand public perceptions and develop targeted interventions to close identified public knowledge gaps. This will be achieved in three phases: i) Focus groups with members of the public from 5 provinces to identify major factors influencing public knowledge, perceptions and behaviours during the COVID-19 outbreak. ii) National survey with 1000 members of the public across Canada to create a comprehensive list of top public knowledge gaps, perceptions, and behaviours related to the COVID-19. iii) A national knowledge translation (KT) Campaign to educate, empower and engage the public to increase knowledge and foster positive public change in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. This study will target the Canadian public with the ultimate goal to educate, empower and engage members of the public to be informed stewards of their health knowledge in relation to the current outbreak by strengthening public understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and communities and providing evidence informed interventions to inform social and public health responses. 401 161 $
Kennedy, Eric B.
Université York (Toronto, Ontario)
Understanding Social Perceptions of Risk, Information Sources, Trust, and Public Engagement Related to the COVID-19 Outbreak The aim of this project is to conduct rigorous research that (a) documents, preserves, and shares perishable data about the social dimensions of an emergent outbreak, and (b) that translates and mobilizes this knowledge into tangible countermeasures that can aid in minimizing the negative impacts of the disease on individuals and communities. With the emergence of a new disease like COVID-19, there is the potential for significant fear, stigmatization, and misinformation. It is essential to understand how these phenomenon operate; to trace how they affect public attitudes, fears, and beliefs; and to support evidence-based communication by government and expert public health sources that can help to minimize panic or stigmatization, support the adoption of appropriate precautions, and promote effective and pro-social responses. We combine four data sources (a nationally-representative survey sampling 300,000 Canadian households three times over the next two years; follow-up interviews with 135-165 participants; social media data; and mainstream media discourse analyses) to investigate a series of research questions surrounding public perceptions, fears, and reactions. The survey and interviews will provide core data on public perceptions of the risk of COVID-19, who Canadians are turning to as experts on the topic, and what information they are seeking. We correlate this data with analyses of the content being shared through social and traditional media platforms. This project supports the response to COVID-19. By better understanding Canadian risk perceptions, fears, and information sources, we can support the development and testing of more effective strategies for sharing reliable information and garnering trust. Longitudinal, cross-Canada surveying allows for regional analysis of interventions, rapid identification of what information Canadians are seeking, and the creation of pathways for sharing public knowledge and opportunities for engagement. 428 816 $
Crush, Jonathan
Université Wilfrid Laurier (Waterloo, Ontario)
Assessing and Mitigating the Food Security Consequences of COVID-19 in China This project will evaluate the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on household food security in Chinese cities, assess the effectiveness of temporary policies from multi-stakeholder perspective and develop social and policy measures to mitigate the impacts. Building on the expertise, research instruments, and networks developed through the SSHRC-funded Hungry Cities Partnership, our objectives are to: 1) Investigate the immediate food security challenges resulting from China's quarantine measures, unstable food supply, and fear of food shopping in two COVID-19 affected cities (Wuhan and Nanjing); 2) Compare food security status in Nanjing following the COVID-19 outbreak with baseline data collected through Hungry Cities in 2015; and 3) Synthesize and assess policies established to address food security challenges and promote effective measures by engaging local stakeholders. Our Canadian-Chinese research team has strong multidisciplinary expertise in food security evaluation, food policy analysis and the social and food security impacts of infectious diseases. Using a mixed-methods approach, we will generate rapid answers to Objective 1 through an online household survey and follow-up telephone interviews with residents of Wuhan and Nanjing, and a complementary inventory of immediate policy measures. Building on the survey instruments and established connections developed through the Hungry Cities Partnership, we will address Objective 2 through a longitudinal analysis to evaluate changes in household food security before and after the COVID-19 epidemic. Objective 3 will be addressed through a policy analysis and in-depth interviews with diverse local stakeholders. Outcomes will be relevant to academics, international organizations, and policymakers involved in efforts to strengthen food provisioning amid the epidemic in China. Results will also be useful to policymakers in other countries at risk of food security during infection disease outbreaks. 438 241 $
Leslie, Myles
Université de Calgary
Policy Implementation and Communication Lessons from Alberta's Acute and Primary Care Environments During the COVID-19 Response As international, national, or provincial agencies develop policies to combat an outbreak like COVID-19, these policies will always be interpreted through the local context and culture of the healthcare workers on the front lines. Context and culture are important elements of any public health response, not just in communities, but in clinical settings as well. This project will use a mix of qualitative methods to evaluate how COVID-19 preparedness and response policies are being transmitted and implemented in acute and primary care facilities in the province of Alberta. Through site visits, task analyses, and interviews with public health professionals and clinicians at the provincial level, we will conduct a systematic assessment of how policies, protocols, priorities and communication channels are functioning. We will be asking our participants how they are implementing and prioritizing: staff, case, and space management policies; referral and isolation protocols; and surveillance and risk communication priorities in preparation for the appearance of COVID-19. As well as offering a detailed description of how things are playing out on the ground, our research will identify gaps, challenges, and opportunities for improving existing response efforts. We will be writing reports and papers that help Alberta and other provinces plan for future public health emergencies. These reports and papers will focus on how context and culture impact clinical capabilities for public health preparedness and policy implementation. 429 646 $
Wei, Xiaolin
Université de Toronto
Developing integrated guidelines for health care workers in hospital and primary healthcare facilities in response to Covid-19 pandemic in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) The proposal responds to the CIHR call regarding public health responses to the 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We recognise the gap in LMICs where there is an under financed health system and low capacity of health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals, public and private primary care facilities and the community/ NGO to respond to the pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced technical guidance, but the guidance documents are broad, they have to be updated with new developments, and translated into guidelines for HCWs, i.e., doctors, nurses and community health workers for hospitals, primary care and community in LMICs. Here we choose the Philippines and Sri Lanka because they both reported Covid-19 cases, and we can quickly mobilize resources. We aim to develop an integrated plan for HCWs to respond to the pandemic, as well as role-specific guidelines to manage Covid-19 suspects and cases regarding hospital patient flow, infection control, patient supervision and support in communities. We will learn from frontline experiences in China and update our understanding. We will work with policymakers, HCWs and NGOs in the Philippines and Sri Lanka to develop the guidelines and training modules. We will pilot test the tools for feasibility and acceptability among HCWs in the Philippines, adapt in Sri Lanka, and generate a generic version for LMICs to respond to Covid-19 and any future similar pandemic. Our integrated response strategy aims to update skills of HCWs, reduce patient overload at hospitals, avoid hospital transmission, reduce community transmission and public panic, provide patient support and reduce stigma. Our professional team consists of researchers from Canada, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. The team has strong related experience and can quickly produce a draft guideline and materials within 2 months and finalize all work in 24 months. 498 188 $
Halperin, Scott A.
Université Dalhousie (Nouvelle-Écosse)
Understanding the effects of public health outbreak control policies and implementation on individuals and communities: a path to improving COVID-19 policy effectiveness This project will examine the cultural dimensions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic such as examining how individuals and communities understand and react to the disease, studying the response of public health, and exploring how public health policy affects individuals and communities. While public health policies are required to control an infectious disease outbreak, these policies can adversely affect individuals and communities. Quarantine, limitations in movement and public gathering, and other restrictive measures can put a social and economic burden on individuals, which may be disproportionate, depending on their socioeconomic status and other factors. Healthcare providers are both involved in administering the policy but are also put at grave risk in caring for patients. This will be a multiprovince, multicountry study in Canada (British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia), Bangladesh, and China (Guangdong). We will use qualitative methodology (document review, key informant interviews, focus groups) and quantitative methods (surveys) to examine policy and implementation from the public health/policy perspective as well perspectives of the media, communities, healthcare providers, patients and their caregivers, and members of the general public. These data will be used to improve the process by which public health policies are created and implemented. 499 904 $
Mamuji, Aaida
Université York (Toronto, Ontario)
Destigmatizing Chinese Communities in the face of 2019-nCoV: Emergency Management Actions to Address Social Vulnerability in Toronto and Nairobi Chinese communities around the world are facing impacts to their personal wellbeing and livelihoods by way of discrimination and Sinophobia (anti-Chinese sentiment) due to COVID-19 disease (formally 2019-nCoV). By performing rapid response research, we can better understand social and policy countermeasures to mitigate the threats communities face from this and future Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC). This project focuses on the research area of social and policy countermeasures. Specifically, cultural dimensions of the epidemic such as examining how individuals and communities understand and react to the disease along with tailoring a response to the unique circumstances of different populations will be the foci of this project. Our research team will: 1) examine how Chinese diaspora communities in large urban centres globally, namely in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA or Toronto herein), Canada and Nairobi, Kenya are understanding and reacting to the novel coronavirus by studying social impacts and coping strategies. 2) engage with vulnerable groups (children, women, elderly, etc.) within Chinese communities using participatory action research approaches to counter misinformation about COVID-19 and share emergency management and public health practices and resources relevant to the health crisis. 3) share findings with emergency management professionals in both countries and collaboratively develop a culturally-specific public education campaign to support efforts to destigmatize Chinese communities during the COVID-19 PHEIC in both Toronto and Nairobi. 4) use social media and knowledge sharing events to educate the broader community on the true impact of misinformation, disinformation, stigma and fear, with the hope that this will improve community cohesion during the outbreak phase, in recovery, and for future resilience. 499 121 $
Wang, Peizhong P.
Université Memorial de Terre-Neuve
Mobilizing the Chinese Immigrant Community and Battling the Potential COVID-19 outbreak in the Greater Toronto Area: Gathering essential information, creating a mutual support quarantine network and assessing psychological impacts The COVID-19 outbreak is raging in China and spreading across the globe. The situation is getting worse and may last longer than anyone can expect. Despite of only eight confirmed cases, Canada is now shrouded in fear and worry in face of uncertainty. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has one of the largest Chinese communities in the world and thus bears the brunt of the fear, anxiety, and panic. This, coupled with English language obstacles, has enabled rumors and misinformation to explode on social media. It has been suggested that the Toronto Chinese community is the most vulnerable, yet least prepared population for the potential COVID-19 outbreak. There is an urgent need to prepare and mobilize the GTA Chinese community to fight against the possible outbreak. In this context, the overarching goal of the proposed work is to assess the knowledge, develop effective epidemic control practice, and identify the psychological impacts of the disease. This will be achieved through coordinated efforts across communities, professionals, and local residents, to address three specific and inter-related objectives: 1) assessing GTA Chinese immigrants' knowledge, attitudes/beliefs, and protection practices toward COVID-19; 2) developing, evaluating, and optimizing a mutual-support quarantine network to contain COVID-19 from further spreading; and 3) assessing the psychological impacts and the associated predictors of the potential COVID-19 outbreak. The proposed project is culturally relevant, practical, and community-based. The research team is comprised of multidisciplinary researchers from the related fields of public health (epidemiology), psychology, sociology, and health policy. As part of the ongoing effort, the team has been closely working with the GTA Chinese community in various ways. This project will benefit not only the target population but also other communities in Canada. 295 020 $
Wong, Josephine P.
Université Ryerson (Toronto)
PROTECH - Pandemic Rapid-response Optimization To Enhance Community-resilience and Health Global travel and trade have led to the spread of contagious diseases around the world, or pandemics. News about emerging pandemics often bring out fear and anxiety in the public. Recent public response to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak reflected blame, fear, and racism against the Chinese communities. We have learned during the 2003 SARS crisis in Toronto that stigma could lead to crushing harm on the health, psychological, social, and economic well-being of the affected communities. In response to the potential negative impacts of COVID-19 on the Chinese communities, our team proposes a cutting-edge model - Pandemic Rapid-response Optimization To Enhance Community-Resilience and Health (PROTECH) that consists of three interrelated components: (1) an online resource hub that provides accurate and timely information on COVID-19, and practical ways to cope with fear and anxiety; (2) an online group training with live video meeting to reduce stigma/stress and promote resilience among affected groups (individuals tested positive; healthcare providers experiencing stress or burnout, community leaders); and (3) a framework that sustains the first two components and aligns people, processes, and resources together. Our team includes clinicians, researchers, and leaders from diverse public, arts, and business sectors. We will also reach out to key opinion leaders and community influencers to mobilize the Chinese and other affected communities. We will use focus groups, surveys, and note-taking on project activities to examine the effectiveness of PROTECH in reducing stress and stigma, and promoting collective resilience, or how to best support the affected groups to keep well despite the challenges. Finally, the PROTECH model can be adapted and used in different communities across Canada and other countries for future pandemic outbreaks. 500 000 $
Qian, Yue
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
City Shutdown as a Response to COVID-19: Understanding Human Experiences and Mental Health Consequences of the Quarantine in Wuhan Wuhan, where COVID-19 originated, is the capital of Hubei Province, with a population of over 11 million. The municipal government shut down the entire city since Jan 23, 2020, hoping to halt the COVID-19 outbreak. "[B]elieved to be without precedent" (New York Times), this largest quarantine in human history provides a natural case study to assess the impact of quarantine, as a public health response to COVID-19, on individuals and communities. We will conduct five waves of online survey, each four months apart, to follow a diverse sample of 8,000 adults who lived in Wuhan during the quarantine. The survey will evaluate respondents' mental health, challenges encountered, and community services received during and after the quarantine. We will use survey data to identify individual and community risk factors for mental health outcomes during and after the quarantine, thereby determining the course of post-quarantine recovery and pinpointing the populations that need public health services the most. We will also conduct in-depth interviews with 120 adults who lived in Wuhan during the quarantine to examine, in much greater detail, how people understood, reacted to, and coped with the quarantine, and what local barriers, challenges, and needs existed in combating the COVID-19 outbreak. Our interviews will target vulnerable groups who have special healthcare needs (pregnant women, people with chronic conditions, and the elderly living alone) and people who are primary caregivers (people who care for family members with COVID-19, healthcare workers, and parents of young children). Spanning the fields of public health, sociology, demography, and disaster studies, this research will illuminate the feasibility of quarantine as a public health response to COVID-19, inform community and mental health service planning for post-epidemic recovery, and ultimately help to mitigate potential negative impacts of quarantine and the COVID-19 outbreak on individuals and communities. 400 468 $
Lester, Richard T.
Université de la Colombie-Britannique
Digital Virtual Support of Cases and Contacts to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Readiness and Knowledge Sharing for Global Outbreaks (WelTel PHM) The global outbreak of COVID-19 is the latest example of a rapidly spreading infectious outbreak with global impact. Infected patients with mild symptoms and asymptomatic contacts need to be isolated, ideally without overwhelming health facilities. WelTel, an integrated virtual care and patient engagement solution, emerged as an innovation initially to support the global HIV pandemic through a Canadian-Kenyan partnership over a decade ago. Co-founded by the lead investigator and registered in British Columbia, WelTel has continued to integrate research into a richly featured virtual care platform that can be used on the frontlines of healthcare delivery. The study aims to: 1-Deploy and co-optimize WelTel to assist in home monitoring and support of COVID-19 cases and contacts; 2- Determine essential linkages and technical demands of the digital health ecosystem for data security purposes and integration into other electronic health records (EHR) & health information management systems (HIMS); 3-Evaluate communication and other metadata captured by the system for public health quality improvement to better understand and reduce barriers (such as stigma); 4-Use novel computing approaches such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to harness artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to model, predict, and provide insights into future precision public health approaches. Collaborators have necessary expert skills in quantitative and qualitative research methods for rigorous assessment, and come from the countries targeted for the research deployment (Canada, UK, US, Kenya, and Rwanda). A rapid digital landscape analysis will also be done as a part of this research. Virtual care may be an efficient, cost-effective way to provide the necessary public health monitoring and support for patients and contacts of COVID-19 and future emerging communicable pathogens, as well as can inform public health quality improvement and precision care. 500 000 $
Mclachlan, Stephane M.
Université du Manitoba
kitatipithitamak mithwayawin: Indigenous-Led Countermeasures to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other Pandemics Then, Now, and Into the Future The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified on December 31 2019 in Wuhan, China. As of February 18 2020, 73,439 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in 29 countries around the world with an attributed 1,875 deaths. The World Health Organization recently declared COVID-19 as a global health emergency. Studies on H1N1 and other pandemics show that Indigenous communities in Canada suffered most from these diseases. Responses to H1N1 were often inadequate and at worst created more harm than good. Communities had poor access to medical experts and supplies. Indigenous organizations were mostly excluded from decision-making. And misinformation generated much fear that still persists today. Yet, many Indigenous communities and organizations also responded effectively and, with others, eventually found ways to reduce the impacts of H1N1. The outbreak of COVID-19 thus represents a critical moment. On one hand the same mistakes could be made, with similar impacts. On the other hand, there is an opportunity to do things differently in ways that are grounded in the priorities of Indigenous communities and organizations. The goal of this project is to evaluate the implications of past and existing responses to pandemics with respect to Indigenous communities across Canada and to address any gaps in understanding and support related to COVID-19 and future pandemics. This collaborative project will focus on the past by documenting experiences with other pandemics and explore changes in response over time. It will focus on the present by assessing current state of community emergency planning and risk communication. Finally, it will focus on the future by assessing community responses to different possible scenario and ideas for moving forward. We will share our outcomes with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada, all levels of governments, and the general public so that the health interests of Indigenous people are best served now and into the future. 500 000 $
Nicholas, David B.
Université de Calgary
Exploring the Psychosocial and Health Service Consequences of Coronavirus on Children and their Families: Lessons Learned for Pediatric Health Care Practice and Policy Outbreaks such as COVID-19 risk deleteriously affecting the quality of pediatric health care. For vulnerable children (e.g., those with COVID-19 or other respiratory conditions, those who are immunosuppressed, those with a terminal illness), person/family-centred care is essential to their health and well-being particularly in times of systemic challenge, which paradoxically is taxed during a pandemic outbreak. Studies have shown that outbreaks like COVID-19 strain practices such as imposing stringent infectious control procedures as well as widespread stigma and fear. These shifts risk negative impacts on tangible, relational (e.g., communication) and psychosocial aspects of care that can exacerbate patient anxiety and isolation both in and out of hospital. Procedural and other shifts in care may be needed to diminish negative impacts and conversely optimize patient care. Using qualitative data collection, this study will illuminate the perspectives of children, their families, and health care providers about how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted public health and institutional health care delivery. Pediatric care processes and stakeholder experiences will be explored via ground theory methods. We will recruit pediatric patients with varying conditions, their parents and health care providers. Diversity in family ethno-cultural and socio-economic backgrounds will be sought. Interviews, focus groups and a Delphi consultation will be conducted, as will a comparison of these findings relative to similar data collected by members of this team during the 2003 Canadian SARS outbreak. Accordingly, potential advances in pandemic preparedness and care will be appraised. Recommendations for practice and policy will be offered. 261 367 $
Wang, Lu
Université Ryerson (Toronto)
Spatial and social patterning of COVID-19 prevention and transmission in Canada: Investigating the impacts of risk perception and preventive behaviour on individual activity space Emerging and re-emerging global infectious diseases are presenting unprecedented public health challenges, resulting in negative, long-lasting health, sociocultural and economic consequences for individuals and communities around the world. As a global city, Toronto is home to one of the most highly-travelled populations in the world. It has been a significant receiving geography of a number of global infectious diseases. The project aims to understand the relationships among health risk perception, community prevention behaviour and individual activity space during the on-going global COVID-19 outbreak. Disease transmission in an urban centre is directly influenced by individual activity space and the effectiveness of preventive measures taken in a community, which is largely shaped by perception of the disease and its risk. The project will (1) explore the perception of COVID-19 and its risks among groups with different immigration status, socio-economic-demographic characteristics within Toronto's Chinese community; (2) examine how risk perception shapes prevention behaviour and individual activity space; and (3) assess how activity space is influenced by risk perception, prevention practices, and other factors through spatial-quantitative, mapping and qualitative analysis. Data will be collected from a community survey on risk perception, prevention behaviour and daily mobility, and focus groups on coping strategies. The project will contribute to the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing evidence-based findings on community prevention behaviour in a large urban hub. It will reveal local perspectives, citizen approaches and community practices as outbreak response effort, and enhance our understanding of the cultural dimensions of the epidemic. It will yield implications for public health response in setting policies under time constraints and uncertainty, allocating resources, identifying high-risk groups and setting vaccine priority. 189 050 $
Buckeridge, David L.
Université McGill
Using Online News Media to Assess Community and Public Health Responses to COVID-19 Canada has played a leading role in developing computer-based systems for scanning news on the internet to detect signals of infectious diseases. We will work with he Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization to develop artificial intelligence methods for analyzing news on the internet to understand how communities and public health agencies around the world are responding to the corona virus epidemic. These methods will help to understand the impact of the epidemic, identify effective strategies for controlling the epidemic, and contribute to improved global disease surveillance in the future. 500 000 $
Maunder, Robert G.
Sinai Health System (Toronto)
(nouveau)
Peer Champion Support for Hospital Healthcare Workers during and after a Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: It's a Marathon, not a Sprint Experience from the 2003 SARS outbreak taught that hospital workers often experience chronic stress effects for months or years after such an event, including burnout, absenteeism, and interpersonal problems. We learned that supporting healthcare workers requires attention to the marathon of occupational stress, not just the sprint of dramatic stressors that occur while infections are dominating the news. At our hospital, we routinely provide a range of supportive resources for staff, which depend on their needs and often depend on staff actively seeking support. This study's goal is to test if the well-being of hospital workers facing a novel coronavirus outbreak is improved by adding Peer Support Champions: an interdisciplinary team of professionals who actively monitor for early signs of heightened stress within clinical teams, liaise between staff and senior management to improve organizational responsiveness, and provide direct support and teaching (under the supervision of experts in resilience, infection control, and professional education). We will test the effectiveness of Enriched Support by rolling it out to different parts of the hospital in stages, comparing levels of burnout before and after the intervention reaches particular teams and units (this is called a stepped wedge design). By the end of the study, we will have provided Enriched Support to all of our clinical and research staff and many learners (> 6,000 people). We will test the effectiveness of the Peer Support Champions by measuring trends in burnout and other effects of stress over the course of the study in a subgroup of these hospital workers (~1000 people). We have assembled a team of experts in infection prevention and control, healthcare workers' stress and resilience, and continuous professional education. Because occupational stress and burnout are very common in healthcare, we expect this work to produce knowledge that is valuable well beyond the current outbreak. 498 900 $
Généreux, Mélissa
Université de Sherbrooke
(nouveau)
The role of communication strategies and media discourse in shaping psychological and behavioral response to the COVID-19 outbreak: a comparative analysis between Canada and two Asian countries/regions First identified in December 2019 in China, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has been declared a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO). Large outbreaks can increase the sense of fear and lead to adverse responses from the public, such as denial, rumors, misconceptions, stigmatization, and avoidance behaviors. Both news media and social media play a major role shaping these responses. Little is known about how people of various cultural and social backgrounds react to health information and misinformation. It is also unclear how official information (from the authorities) flows and circulates across levels of governance (from WHO to countries, then from countries to citizens). Our research project aims to contribute to a better understanding of how the health information related to the COVID-19 outbreak is delivered by authorities and media, and how it is received, understood and used by the public. To do so, we will conduct a survey about knowledge, perceptions, and reactions to the COVID-19 outbreak among large and representative samples of the population in three places: Canada, Hong Kong and Philippines. We will also analyze and compare the way information about COVID-19 outbreak is shared in the news media and the social media. Finally, we will look at how health information delivered and received by the population is influenced by the multiple levels of governance. This international research project will allow to 1) evaluate the impacts of communication strategy and misinformation on populations of various backgrounds and 2) draw important lessons that could be applied to future disasters and global threats. 499 950 $
Yamamoto, Shelby
Université de l'Alberta
(nouveau)
Assessing and addressing the psychosocial impacts of COVID-19 among pregnant women and health care providers in Anhui, China On January 31, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. In addition to focusing on immediate clinical/biomedical needs relat-ed to the outbreak, it is also important to consider potential mental health impacts. Pregnancy can be a time of heightened vulnerability, especially during public health emergencies. Women may have several concerns related to: their health and fetus; the health of family, friends, and their infants; access to ser-vices; potential exposure during hospital deliveries; and social isolation, among others. Health care pro-viders (HCPs) also face mental, physical, and social challenges that can affect their wellbeing and ability to care for patients. Building on our team's existing research work and infrastructure, we will first assess the potential impacts of the COVID-19 emergency on pregnant women's mental health (depression) and the implementation of a perinatal depression and screening and management program in Ma'anshan, Chi-na. Secondly, we will then evaluate the effect of a cognitive behavioral therapy intervention aimed at re-ducing depression in pregnant women and investigate changes in the acceptability of and adherence to the intervention. Thirdly, we will investigate potential impacts in terms of adverse birth outcomes (preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age) and explore women's experiences during the outbreak. Fourthly, we also plan to assess anxiety among HCPs and investigate the provision of perinatal health care during and after the emergency. This study aims to contribute to the global COVID-19 response, foster our understanding of the potential mental health impacts of the emergency, reduce public health risk and burden, and help inform clinical and public health responses to the outbreak. 396 470 $
Zinszer, Kate A.
Université de Montréal
(nouveau)
A multi-country comparison of COVID-19 response: Planning, implementation, and health system resilience The many unknowns of COVID-19 have made the response efforts difficult despite the rapid guidance provided by the WHO. How different countries respond to this pandemic in their preparation and implementation is essential to study and understand. The aim of this project is to compare the public health response to COVID-19 in Brazil, Canada, France, and Mali. Using a case study approach, we will identify strengths and weaknesses in the response, including challenges for health professionals and health systems. To achieve our project aim, we will first document how countries have planned, organized, and implemented public health responses. We will study health system vulnerability according to exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacities. We will then generate lessons learned for the benefit of public health and health systems and we will organize a workshop between the four countries and international organizations. The research team is composed of international and national experts in epidemic response and health systems analysis from each of the four countries. We are a multidisciplinary team of infectious disease clinicians, social scientists, public health practitioners, epidemiologists, data scientists, and a knowledge transfer expert. Our team includes decision makers and knowledge partners who are key to ensuring our work remains relevant and also provides an important conduit for the uptake of policy and practices recommendations. 499 244 $
Singh, Simron
Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre (Toronto, Ontario)
(nouveau)
Assessment of Cancer Patient and Caregiver Perspective on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Impact on Delivery of Cancer Care at an Institution with a Confirmed Case of COVID-19 Understanding the perspectives that cancer patients and their family members and caregivers have toward the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) will be essential to ensure the continuity of their cancer treatments through this infectious outbreak in both the short and long term. A particular dimension that is under-explored and researched is the impact that infectious outbreaks have on the risk perception of cancer patients, including those who are at increased risk of developing infections due to their treatments and immunocompromised state. Furthermore, in the era of continuous and rapid news reporting, social media, and messaging platforms, the proliferation and distribution of COVID-2019 content is unprecedented and further driving distress among this group of patients and caregivers who need to visit medical instituions at regular intervals. At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center Odette Cancer Center in Toronto, Ontario, we have seen an unprecedented number of clinic appointment cancellations due to fears of being exposed to COVID-2019 given we were the first Canadian institution to confirm a patient infected with COVID-2019. Therefore, to better understand this phenomenon, we have designed a research proposal to address this under explored area in order to develop educational tools to help patients and their families/caregivers make informed decisions based on the true risks during this outbreak with appropriate levels of concern and mitigation. We expect these education interventions to empower patients and families/caregivers on the true risks of COVID-2019 infection and in turn prevent inappropriate clinic cancellations and sub-optimal care for patients undergoing treatment for cancer. 44 700 $
Kelloway, E. K.
Université Saint Mary's (Nouvelle-Écosse)
(nouveau)
Organizational response to disease Both public and private sector organizations are increasingly faced with the need to deal with disease outbreaks. In particular, organizations are challenged by the need to promote health and health practices among their employees while, at the same time, maintaining their operations. In the current proposal we focus on how employees perceive their employers managing these two goals. In particular we examine how characteristics of the organizational response to disease outbreaks influence employees' own health and health-promoting behaviours. 333 300 $
Lee, Kelley
Université Simon Fraser (Burnaby, C.–B.)
(nouveau)
Understanding and mitigating real-time differential gendered effects of the COVID-19 outbreak Infectious disease outbreaks are considered by policymakers as global, collective problems, assuming a similar impact of pathogens on all people. Yet, the impact of disease on individuals and communities is not homogenous, with women disproportionately affected. The sex and gendered dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak so far are anecdotal, but the consequences of sidelining these canlimit effective responses in affected regions, as well as prevention and preparedness efforts globally. This project will conduct a gender analysis to identify and document the differential gendered effects of the outbreak and gaps in preparedness and response measures in a dynamic way, providing real time guidance and recommendations to those crafting policy and public health interventions. We will: map and analyze sex disaggregated data on COVID-19 infections and mortality to provide evidence to inform public health responses, decision-making and planning; document and analyze gender impacts of the outbreak in order to strengthen understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and communities through chatroom and social media analysis and interviews with those infected and affected; conduct gender-based analysis of national and global responses through policy analysis and key informant interviews; produce knowledge translation resources, including a gender matrix and toolkit, to improve policy and public health responses to COVID-19. Findings will contribute to the global response of COVID-19 through strengthening understanding of how individuals and communities understand and react to the disease. The COVID-19 Gender Matrix will be a living, online tool presenting gender analysis questions and data as it is gathered and serving as a template to measure gender indicators, if and where the outbreak may spread. The COVID-19 Gender Toolkit will promote immediate gender mainstreamed actions within policy development, preparedness and response activities. 494 524 $
Pilote, Bruno
Université Laval
(nouveau)
Détermination par la simulation du profil type et des valeurs des professionnels de la santé qui décideront de s'impliquer dans les soins aux patients atteints de COVID-19 ou de s'en retirer. Le virus SARS-CoV-2 profite d'une large couverture mediatique en regard des deces qui lui sont attribuables. Les centres de sante au Canada suivent son evolution et ils sont attentifs a l'apparition de tout nouveau cas. Cette maladie virale peut faire peur et des professionnels de la sante pourraient craindre pour leur securite ou celle d'autrui au moment d'intervenir aupres de personnes infectees. Ce choix d'intervenir ou de se retirer des soins est generalement facile a faire en l'absence d'une veritable menace et il est soumis a un processus rationnel et conscient. Cependant, lorsqu'une personne est soumise a une menace reelle et imminente, elle ressent du stress et de la peur. Cette peur, rationnelle ou irrationnelle, joue un role important dans la decision d'intervenir ou de fuir. Actuellement, nous ne connaissons pas la reaction des professionnels de la sante lorsqu'ils font face a une menace imminente tel que le SARS-CoV-2. Nous ne connaissons pas le profil des personnes qui accepteraient d'intervenir, ni celui des personnes qui prefereraient s'abstenir. Nous desirons, dans cette etude, creer un environnement de simulation authentique reproduisant une situation d'epidemie. Des participants selectionnes au hasard (infirmieres, medecins et preposes) dans cinq etablissements de sante du Canada seront appeles a intervenir aupres de personnes atteintes par le coronavirus. Par cette simulation in situ, nous cherchons a reproduire l'etat mental dans lequel le professionnel de la sante se trouvera au moment d'intervenir aupres de cette population. Nous serons ainsi en mesure de determiner le profil des personnes pretes a intervenir, a l'aide d'analyse qualitative et quantitatives. Les centres hospitaliers pourront utiliser les resultats pour determiner les personnes susceptibles d'intervenir efficacement et de facon efficiente dans le cas d'une eclosion majeure afin de reduire les risques organisationnels et humains de l'epidemie. 215 760 $

Dynamique sociale, communication et confiance

Chercheur Titre du projet Description Somme accordée
Noels, Kimberly
Université de l'Alberta
Chinese and non-Chinese Canadians Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Interrelations between Risk Perception, Discrimination, and Preventative Health Actions The coronavirus (COVID-19) has triggered fear worldwide, and in Canada, some of this fear has been misplaced onto Chinese Canadians. The proposed research program is broadly concerned with Chinese Canadians' experiences of discrimination and stigmatization in the current context of the COVID-19 epidemic. Central to these experiences, we suggest, is non-Chinese Canadians' understanding of risk and the cultural dimensions of preventative health practices. The research program has three interrelated components that, together, will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of how Chinese and non-Chinese Canadians understand, experience, and react to the COVID-19, and have implications for developing strategies to combat stigma and fear associated with Chinese people and COVID-19. The first study involves a longitudinal study of Chinese Canadians' experiences of discrimination during the COVID-19 epidemic will help determine what kinds of support Chinese Canadians would like to receive now and in the near future. The second study focuses on non-Chinese Canadians' perceptions of risk associated with virus transmission. This study will test the idea that one way to allay fears aroused by viral outbreaks is to provide people with accurate numerical information about the mortality rate produced by the virus, and its main implication that reducing fear may decrease discrimination against Chinese Canadians. Risk perceptions also predict preventative behaviour. Thus, the third study focuses on wearing a face mask in public as a preventative health practice that is particularly enmeshed in cultural beliefs that differ across the two communities Together, these three interrelated components represent significant social countermeasure research to combat the intergroup threat driven by misinformation, stigma, and cultural misunderstanding associated with COVID-19. 219 580 $
Jardine, Cynthia
Université Fraser Valley (C.-B.)
Developing COVID-19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement Readiness Strategy Guidance for Travelers Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) Containing an emerging disease, such as the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) depends on stopping the spread of the disease to other areas around the world. People who travel back to their countries of origin to visit friends and relatives (VFR) (including the children of immigrants and international students) are often at a higher risk of getting the disease and then spreading it to others. A better understanding of VFR traveler knowledge, risk perceptions, information needs, barriers to pre-travel care and advice, and access to protective measures will help us better develop strategies to keep travelers healthy. This will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its potential negative consequences. Our research will take place in the Fraser Valley and lower mainland of British Columbia as an area with a high number of immigrants. We are seeking information from Chinese and Punjabi VFR travelers, international students at the University of the Fraser Valley, and family physicians. We will use a combination of focus groups, surveys and interviews to get this information. The researchers for this study have a lot of experience in working with immigrant populations on infectious diseases to determine their risk communication needs. This includes research with VFR travelers. The University of the Fraser Valley has partnerships with organizations (such as the Divisions of Family Practice and Community Services) that enable us to easily access research participants. They will also help us access their large and diverse international student body. Including researchers from other countries, like Australia and New Zealand, will help us make sure our research and recommendations can be part of a coordinated international response. Our research also includes senior people in the BC provincial health system to make sure our results can be quickly used in practice. 273 978 $
Wu, Cary
Université York (Toronto, Ontario)
The dynamics of trust before, during, and after the COVID-19 outbreak The proposed research aims to study the COVID-19 outbreak and its relationship with four different kinds of trust, namely- trust in government, trust in health agencies, social trust in general others, and outgroup trust (e.g. Chinese and non-Chinese). We will undertake this research with a view to meeting two objectives. First, we seek to investigate how the pre and in-crisis trust context has shaped the response to COVID-19 in China and Canada (Objective 1). Second, we seek to understand how the COVID-19 outbreak response and experience then shaped the post-crisis context of trust in in China and Canada (Objective 2). The inclusion of both countries is vital not only for the possible control that Canada provides to the Chinese case, but also because it will allow for a more global picture of the impacts that the crisis had on individuals who are ethnically Chinese living outside of China. We will make these contributions by analyzing existing trust data collected prior to the outbreak (pre-crisis); by adding questions about the outbreak to current surveys being conducted on trust in China by team members (in-crisis rapid response conducted immediately); by conducting a new rapidly developed online survey to be administered in China and Canada (in-crisis rapid response conducted immediately; repeated post crisis), and by conducting focus groups with citizens in Chinese and Canadian cities (in crisis Canada only rapid response; repeated post crisis both countries). We anticipate that our team, which brings together experts in trust and health from the center of the outbreak in China, including in Wuhan city, as well as leading scholars on trust and public health in Canada and Sweden, is ideally positioned to conduct this research. As a result of team members' ongoing and previous collaborations we are well-poised for the rapid engagement that is urgently needed in order to meet the global challenge posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. 176 256 $
Driedger, S. Michelle
Université du Manitoba
The Paradox of Precaution: Examining Public Health COVID-19 Outbreak Management Strategies In any outbreak, public health focuses on surveillance, containment, and providing recommendations for how the public can stay safe: wash hands, cover coughs, stay home when sick, and get vaccinated if one is available. While this is similar messaging to what is heard in cold/flu season, what separates these events apart is the inherent uncertainty involved during the emergence of a novel virus. However, when public health best practice (e.g. quarantining returning nationals from Wuhan) is attacked as putting people in "medical jails", or when the WHO implores governments for emergency resources to manage the outbreak by declaring the novel virus as "public enemy number one" akin to a "global threat potentially worse than terrorism", it creates a paradox around the concept of precaution. There is an urgent need to examine the cultural, social and political responses to the management of the current outbreak in real time. The objectives of this research are: 1) to evaluate how cautionary public health messages for the outbreak are presented by the news media; 2) to evaluate whether public health agencies are using social media and how well these tools, if used, increase public understanding of these outbreaks; 3) to assess how members of the general public, including special targeted groups, understand the outbreak, both the risks of disease and the risks of contraction; 4) to evaluate how effectively members of the public feel they can protect themselves given public health outbreak communication, and how they make sense of this relative to seasonal influenza risk messaging; and 5) to assess public response to a novel vaccine if one becomes available. We will meet these objectives through a content analysis of news media stories / social media, and interviews with public health communication leads (objs 1&2) and focus groups/surveys with members of the general public and targeted communities (e.g. Indigenous peoples, Asians) in select Canadian cities (objs 3-5). 499 731 $
Veletsianos, George
Université Royal Roads (Victoria, C.–B.)
Inoculating Against an Infodemic: Microlearning Interventions to Address CoV Misinformation The effort seeks to improve personal health and the health of populations by combating misinformation and developing online learning interventions that improve people's knowledge, skills, beliefs, and behaviours related to COVID-19. In particular, the effort uses a design thinking approach to (1) examine digital misinformation flows pertaining to the outbreak; (2) develop, test, and improve educational interventions to reduce the spread of online misinformation. The outcomes of the project will be: (1) the creation of effective COVID-19 educational interventions; (2) the provision of health-related information recommendations and resources to guide non-profits and other community groups who wish to educate the public; (3) the development of increased individual and community capacity to identify the differences between trustworthy and untrustworthy information on the virus; and (4) the mitigation of misinformation related to COVID-19. To reach these outcomes, we will rapidly develop and deploy COVID-19 educational interventions in a variety of cultural contexts. We will test and improve these interventions based on empirical data from a variety of sources including focus groups, surveys, social media, and field research. Instruments, data, and resources will be shared on an interactive website with licenses that allow others to reuse them for free. 477 683 $
Kothari, Anita R.
Université Western Ontario
What is the public health risk communication response to COVID-19 in the context of social media? Keeping Canadians safe requires a robust public health system. This is especially true when there is a public health emergency, like the novel Coronavirus outbreak. Social media, like twitter and Facebook, is an important information channel because most people use the internet for their health information. The public health sector can use social media during emergency events for: 1) public health messaging, 2) monitoring misinformation, and 3) responding to questions and concerns raised by the public. In this study we ask: What is the public health risk communication response to an emergency infectious disease in the context of social media? We examine how provinces and provincial public health leaders, and the Public Health Agency of Canada and national public heath leaders engage with the public using social media during the Coronavirus event. We compare findings to provincial and national public heath social media activity before the emergency. We also compare findings to the gold standard - WHO social media activity during the emergency. Using our study findings, we will work with public health stakeholders to collaboratively develop a much-needed Canadian social media emergency response set of guideline recommendations for public health and other health system organizations. 129 595 $
Caulfield, Timothy A.
Université de l'Alberta
(nouveau)
Coronavirus Outbreak: Mapping and Countering Misinformation The spread of health misinformation and disinformation are a serious threat to public health, including in the case of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Addressing the spread of COVID-19 misinformation involves identifying the misinformation in circulation, understanding the public impact, and designing and implementing evidence-based solutions to combat the harmful discourse. We propose conducting research into COVID-19 misinformation from multiple angles, developing effective communication and education tools, countering misinformation strategically, and providing policy recommendations to deal with COVID-19 and future outbreaks. Our interdisciplinary team of experts is led by Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair and Health Law Institute Research Director, who has been studying health and science misinformation for over 20 years. Our team will conduct systematic content analyses of traditional and online social media and empirical psychological research on how individuals respond to COVID-19 information. The objective is to assemble and execute a depth-of-analysis sufficient to enact positive outcomes for COVID-19 while establishing a blueprint for future misinformation events. The impact of this course of research will be significant, enabling the development of strategies to combat misinformation, stigma, and fear, to address their underlying drivers, and to improve public awareness, knowledge, and trust. We will meet the call's objectives of contributing to the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak, strengthening the understanding of its public impacts, and providing evidence to inform public health planning, decision making and response. Deploying our expertise and networks will maximize outputs, including to those in health care, government, popular media, and the public at large. 381 708 $
Dubé, Eve
Université Laval
(nouveau)
Sociocultural and behavioural factors affecting communities' response to countermeasures for COVID-19 epidemic: identifying interventions to build trust  'Fear might be a bigger threat than the virus.' As public health authorities increase efforts to address the new coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), rumours, misinformation, and xenophobic online posts are spreading faster than the virus. Fear and misinformation have direct implication on the implementation of effective public health measures to control the epidemic. With this research, we will examine the individual and sociocultural factors that impact individual's and communities' adoption of public health recommendations. This study will use qualitative and quantitative methods to describe online discourses related to COVID-19 in Canada (Tweets and comments on news media report) and to describe individual/ community understanding of disease, priorities, fears, etc. including public health messaging that may impact the acceptance of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. We will also identify interventions that will help build public trust in authorities responsible for disease spread and management, while dispelling unfounded rumours and xenophobic discourse. 499 089 $
de la Sablonniere, Roxane
Université de Montréal
(nouveau)
La cohésion sociale est-elle possible en situation de crises multiples? L'influence des politiques publiques entourant le coronavirus (2019-nCoV) et les préjugés envers les citoyens et citoyennes d'origine chinoise Le monde est actuellement confronte a une situation de crises multiples concernant les prejuges envers la citoyennete d'origines culturelles diverses: les mouvements migratoires, l'omnipresence des medias sociaux et le coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Au Canada, pres de 20% de la population est nee dans un autre pays et 41,8% de ceux-ci font etat de discrimination (Berry & Hou, 2017). Depuis l'eclosion rapide du 2019-nCoV, la communaute internationale observe une hausse des sentiments haineux (Burton, 2020) envers les citoyens et citoyennes d'origine chinoise. Nous soutenons que les politiques publiques vehiculees par les gouvernements ont un impact important sur les attitudes des citoyens et citoyennes a l'egard de la diversite (prejuges), surtout dans un contexte de crises multiples. Dans ce contexte, la collision des menaces a le potentiel de nuire de maniere significative a la cohesion sociale. Ainsi, une serie de questions fondamentales auxquelles il devient urgent de repondre sont soulevees: Est-ce que les politiques publiques des gouvernements influencent reellement le maintien de la cohesion sociale (diminution des stereotypes et de la discrimination)? Est-ce que les medias sociaux et les fausses nouvelles viennent inhiber la transmission efficace des politiques publiques? Comment les messages a la population sur les politiques publiques doivent-ils etre transmis, par qui et de quelle facon? Ce travail de recherche est fait au moyen de plusieurs etudes. Premierement, une etude representative et longitudinale (N=3000) sera menee. Elle permettra d'observer l'evolution des prejuges au fil du temps, conjointement a l'evolution du 2019-nCoV, et aussi la dynamique associee a ce processus. Deuxiemement, une serie de six etudes experimentales sera menee afin de tester l'efficacite des divers messages sur le coronavirus tels que transmis par les agents publics et par les divers medias sociaux tels que Facebook. 351 270 $
Asmundson, Gordon J.
Université de Regina (Saskatchewan)
(nouveau)
COVID-19: The Role of Psychological Factors in the Spreading of Disease, Discrimination, and Distress The novel corona COVID-19 arose in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has rapidly spread from China to other parts of the world. By early February there were over 40,000 confirmed cases in 25 countries, of which 2.5% have been fatal. The WHO declared the virus to be a public health emergency of international concern. COVID-19 is poised to become the next pandemic. For both epidemics and pandemics, psychological factors play a major role in the spread and containment of infection (e.g., non-adherence with hygiene guidelines) and in societally disruptive behaviour (e.g., infection-related discrimination, excessive fear and worry, overuse of healthcare resources); as such, psychological factors have important public health significance. The proposed studies are the first of a planned series of studies with the end goal of developing a rapid assessment system (assessment battery and online delivery platform) that can be used to assess, for any pandemic or major epidemic, infection-related excessive anxiety and xenophobia, and risk factors for these problems. To achieve this end goal, we will conduct three studies with a specific focus on COVID-19 using community samples. The goal of Study 1 will be to develop and validate measures of COVID-19-related anxiety and xenophobia (C-ANX, and C-XEN). In Study 2, these scales will be used to identify the correlates of C-ANX and C-XEN, which can then be used to identify the downstream impacts of these psychological reactions. Based on the findings of Studies 1 and 2, we will develop and evaluate an online public health assessment and information platform (Study 3) designed to reduce the risk of adverse psychological reactions to infectious outbreak. This platform would then be expanded to (a) monitor the psychological impact (as a public health problem) of a pandemic/epidemic, (b) identify people in need of psychological services, and (c) implement interventions for reducing infection-related xenophobia and excessive anxiety.  399 700 $
Ali, Syed H.
Université York (Toronto, Ontario)
(nouveau)
COVID-19's Informational Virus: Analyzing the Viral Character and Effects of Social Media Misinformation Social media is playing a central yet neglected role in the creation and spread of misinformation about COVID-19 by confusing public understanding, fostering racism and xenophobia, and affecting the capacity of public health officials to communicate scientific facts about COVID-19 to the general public. Without an understanding of the role that contemporary social media plays in the outbreak response, the resultant response may be of limited effectiveness. Thus, this project is based on the following research questions: how is social media-based misinformation shaping both public health and lay responses to COVID-19, and what public health strategies and public policies can be adopted to combat such misinformation and its stigmatizing social impacts? To address these questions, we will develop and apply a cutting-edge mixed-methods approach that combines big data analysis from computational social science with small data analysis from cultural and interpretive sociology. In year one, we will scientifically track misinformation about COVID-19 on Western social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit - as well as on Chinese social media platforms - WeChat, Weibo, Tencent, and Toutiao. This will be supplemented with interviews with public health officials. In the second year, our analysis will turn towards understanding the effects of social media misinformation about COVID-19, including: xenophobia, racism and stigmatization. We focus on the following lines of investigation: (i) Social Media, Misinformation and Risk Communication in Outbreak Response; (ii) Misinformation in a Post-Truth Environment: Implications for Outbreak Response; (iii) The Role of Misinformation in the Promotion of Stigmatization, Xenophobia and Racism During the Outbreak; (iv) The Relationship of Social Media and Political Culture in Outbreak Response: A Comparison of China and Canada. 308 183 $
Fahim, Christine
Unity Health Toronto
(nouveau)
Combating misinformation, fear and stigma in response to the Covid-19 outbreak: An international collaboration between Canada and Singapore On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pneumonia-like illness (previously 'coronavirus' and now named Covid-19) a public health emergency of international concern. In past months, misinformation about the outbreak rapidly spread, sparking fear and stigmatization of Chinese, Asian and other communities in Canada and abroad. We will conduct this study in partnership with the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ) and the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), which are advocacy organizations aiming to reduce stigma and racism facing the Chinese-Canadian community. We have also partnered with the Yee Hong Centre in Canada and researchers and government officials in Singapore to explore how cultural and political contexts impact misinformation, stigma and fear. We will conduct a social media analysis to understand Canadian and Singaporean local and federal governments' response to Covid-19 and the public's reaction to these messages. We will conduct multi-language key informant interviews with citizens, health care providers and government officials in Singapore and Canada to identify drivers of misinformation, fear and stigma, and will develop corresponding strategies and tools to mitigate these. We will test our tools with an international, diverse participant panel to ensure our findings are meaningful to a global audience. 499 965 $
Gillis, Joseph R
Université de Toronto
(nouveau)Note en bas de page *
Responding to the Stigma, Fear, Discrimination, and Misinformation Related to the COVID-19 Disease Outbreak: A Novel Analyses and Intervention for a Novel Coronavirus. The proposed research will analyze the stigma, fear, discrimination, and misinformation related to the spread of the novel coronavirus, now referred to by the scientific name, SARS-CoV-2. Our research team will approach the problem by using several strategies to gain information from members of the Chinese and East Asian communities in Canada which have been targets of much of the stigma, fear, discrimination and even, violence, targeted at them because they are perceived to be responsible for and spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus. First, we will conduct interviews and focus groups with members of the Chinese and East Asian communities to document and understand their experiences related to the COVID-19 disease epidemic, the scientific name now designated to identify the disease related to the new novel coronavirus. Next, we will conduct a representative survey of all Canadians which will assess their knowledge levels about SARS-CoV-2 including the prevalence, lethality, modes of infection and perceived personal risk of acquiring the virus. We will collect detailed information about aspects of participants' identities such as their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, social class, religion, age, and other factors to provide a context for understanding their responses. We will then work to propose a model of how these various factors fit together to assist public health officials and others to understand and respond to the COVID-19 disease epidemic. Finally, we will design a social media response employing "social influencers" to counteract the negative message received about the COVID-19 disease epidemic and communities associated with it, and construct a website based on the principles of motivational interviewing to decrease the prejudices and stereotypes of participants and increase their health-protective responses and feelings of resilience in response to the COVID-19 disease epidemic. 467 844 $

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