A Conversation with an Infectious Disease Specialist

Published on July 28, 2020

Here’s a list of CIHR COVID-19 Funded Projects led and co-led at The Ottawa Hospital:

  1. Harnessing cancer-fighting viruses to develop a COVID-19 vaccine: Drs. John Bell, Carolina Ilkow, Réjean Lapointe, Douglas Mahoney and colleagues were awarded $1.9 million to rapidly create and test several potential COVID-19 vaccines in animal models. This research will build on the team’s unique experience in developing cancer-fighting viruses and studying how viruses interact with the immune system. Co-Investigators: Jonathan Angel, Rebecca Auer, Rudolf Bohm, Jean-Francois Cailhier, Bill Cameron, Jean-Simon Diallo, Michael Jamieson, Craig Jenne, Kasi Russell-Lodrigue.
  2. Using cell therapy to calm the immune system in critically ill patients: Drs. Duncan Stewart, Shane English, Dean Fergusson and colleagues were awarded $1.9 million to determine if a type of cell therapy can reduce the damaging, overactive immune response often seen in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The therapy, using cells derived from umbilical cord blood, will be tested in a randomized, controlled clinical trial in several centres across Canada. Co-Investigators: Michaël Chassé, David Courtman, Claudia dos Santos, Michael Jamieson, Manoj Lalu, Bernard Thébaud.
  3. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and babies: Drs. Darine El-Chaâr, Marc-André Langlois and colleagues were awarded $796,000 to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their babies, including whether a mother can pass COVID-19 to her child during pregnancy. These findings will inform care practices, as well as informing evidence-based counselling to families about maintaining the health and safety of their newborns. Co-Investigators: Mark Walker, Malia Murphy, Katherine Muldoon, Bill Cameron, Michaeline McGuinty, David Millar, Jessica Dy, Angela Crawley, Shannon Bainbridge, Dina El Demellawy, Deshayne Fell, Jason Brophy, Sarah Lawrence, Nisha Thampi, Anne Sprague, Susan Thorne, Stephanie Palerme, Laura Gaudet, Jon Barrett, Howard Berger, Barbra de Vrijer, André LaRoche, Sarah McDonald, Elad Mei-Dan, John Snelgrove, Jocelyn Cook.
  4. Understanding the challenge of COVID-19 for Ottawa’s most vulnerable people: Dr. Smita Pakhale, Josephine Etowa and colleagues were awarded $129,000 to investigate how the pandemic has affected those who are low-income, homeless, and at-risk of homelessness. Data co-collected and co-analyzed with people of lived experience could lead to the development of better policies and programs to help vulnerable populations during COVID-19 and future crises. Co-Investigators: Hector Addison, Ann Dale, Terry Hegarty, Maisam Najafizada, Sanni Yaya, Suzanne Bouclin, Kelly Florence, Sadia Jama, Rob Boyd, Tim Ramsay, Mohamed Gazarin, Chinnaiah Jangam, Peter Selby, Sylvie Grosjean, Eric Crighton, Darlene Kitty, Kednapa Thavorn.
  5. Studying blood clots in recovered COVID-19 patients: Severe COVID-19 infection increases the risk of developing potentially deadly blood clots, but it is unclear how long this risk continues after patients recover from their infection. Dr. Deborah Siegal, Dr. Marc Carrier and colleagues were awarded $304,000 to study the risk of blood clots in recovered COVID-19 patients, and to explore related aspects of awareness and virtual care. Co-Investigators: M. Arsenault, A. Cuker, J. Douketis, P. Gross, M. Koolian, G. Le Gal, A. Lee, G. Roberge, S. Shivakumar, L. Skeith, C. Wu.

A significant number of Department of Medicine researchers are co-investigators on additional COVID-19 CIHR funded projects whose PIs are at other institutions. Congratulations to these individuals as well!

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