CIHR Funding for COVID-19 Research

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Funds totalling $109.7M announced, including $8.2M for projects involving researchers at UHN.

Congratulations to the researchers who were awarded funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity.

In this round, a total of $8.25M will be provided for seven projects that are led or co-led by researchers at UHN.

The projects use diverse strategies to fight COVID-19. Examples include Dr. Douglas Lee’s project, which will use artificial intelligence and statistical techniques to analyze large sets of health data from patients in Ontario and Alberta. By looking at health outcomes of those who are at risk or have developed COVID-19, the research team will be able to identify medications that affect the severity and outcomes of the disease, as well as help gauge whether changes in health care, in response to the pandemic, have impacted those living with chronic cardiovascular conditions.

Other projects will look at the effects of COVID-19 on patients up to one year after infection (Drs. Angela Cheung and Margaret Herridge); reveal how the pandemic has affected the use of the health care system by Canadians (Dr. Murray Krahn); explore whether severe symptoms are caused by certain patients’ own immune systems (Dr. Robert Rottapel); and determine whether severe symptoms can be averted through the use of nutritional supplements such as vitamin D and zinc (Dr. Kevin Kain), or medications including the blood thinner heparin (Drs. Ewan Goligher and Patrick Lawler) or a diabetes drug semaglutide (Dr. Vladimir Dzavik).

This current round of funding will provide a total of $109.7M to support 139 research teams across Canada. These projects include clinical trials, observational studies, implementation science or other relevant study designs to address COVID-19-related vaccines, diagnostics, or therapeutics; clinical management and health system interventions; and social, policy and public health responses and consequences. This current round complements the first round, which was announced in March and provided $55.3M to support 100 research teams.

For more information, see the press release.

CIHR funding will support the Canadian COVID-19 Prospective Cohort Study (CanCOV), led by Senior Scientists Dr. Angela Cheung (left) and Margaret Herridge (right). The study will evaluate one-year outcomes in 2000 individuals with COVID-19 infection and their caregivers.