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COVID-19: UBC receives $14 million in federal funding for COVID-19 research

Vancouver Sun logo Vancouver Sun 2020-06-25 Tiffany Crawford
a group of people standing in front of a building: Sign at entrance the UBC. © Gerry Kahrmann Sign at entrance the UBC.
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Researchers at the University of B.C. have received $14.3 million in funding from the federal government to study health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nineteen teams at UBC working in drug research, global health, obstetrics, medical imaging, public health, and Indigenous health are receiving the support, UBC said in a news release on Thursday.

The money will help further research into medical and societal responses to the virus, said Gail Murphy, vice-president, research and innovation.

“These research projects, which range from developing treatments to addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable and marginalized populations, could have national and global impacts, and we are grateful for this support,” said Murphy, in a statement.

Some of the projects include studying the use of artificial intelligence to search for SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors among known drugs, using nanoparticles to deliver antibody therapy against COVID-19, and tracking household transmission of COVID-19 in Africa.

There is also money set aside for a UBC team creating a genetic library to support drug development, identifying patients at risk of severe complications using sequencing technology, and creating an emergency COVID-19 rapid response network.

The largest amount, $3.5 million, was awarded to UBC professor Dr. James Russell, who is working out of St. Paul’s Hospital Centre for Heart Lung Innovation and conducting a multi-site trial to study the safety and effectiveness of using losartan, a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes, to lower COVID-19 mortality.

Other teams are looking at public health data, for example to assess the impact of pandemic health measures on young people, or to understand how it affects resource-poor countries.

Scientists at UBC are also examining the impact of COVID-19 on the brain, tracking maternal and infant outcomes among pregnant women, pinpointing the cause of COVID-19-related inflammation and using chemical compounds to reduce COVID-19 spread.

For a full list of all the researchers at UBC receiving this funding visit UBC’s communication page at

Video: COVID-19 immunity may only last a few months: research (


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