UBC researchers supported by CIHR investment to address COVID-19 variants

March 26, 2021

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an investment of $14.3 million from the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), to support new research on the COVID-19 virus variants.

This includes $5.3 million in supplementary funding for 90 ongoing COVID-19 projects and $9 million for a new national network that will coordinate and align variants research throughout the country.

Thirteen ongoing projects led by UBC researchers were awarded a total of $939,626 in supplementary funding through the SARS-CoV-2 variants supplement: COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity streams.

The Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network, or CoVaRR-Net, will be led by Dr. Marc-André Langlois from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Langlois and his team will collaborate with the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Lab (NML), the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), provincial and territorial public health labs, and other national and international bodies. UBC co-investigators in the network include Ninan Abraham, Nozomu Yachie, Manish Sadarangani and Terry Snutch.

Read the anouncement

UBC-led projects awarded Supplementary Funding

Funding for all projects was received through Stream 1 of the SARS-CoV-2 variants supplement: COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity.
Awards marked * also received funding through Stream 2.

  • Neutralizing human-derived single-chain antibodies against SARS-CoV-2
    UBC PI: Bach, Horacio (Medicine)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Computer-aided discovery of synergistic drug combinations with Remdevisir for COVID-19 through mechanism-based drug repurposing and combinatorial organoid screening
    UBC PIs: Cherkasov, Artem (Urologic Sciences); Jean, François (Microbiology and Immunology)
    Award amount: $ 140,000*
  • Contribution of genetic variation of ACE2, the receptor for SARS-CoV-2, to COVID-19 disease expression and development of therapeutics
    UBC PI: Haas, Kurt (Cellular & Physiological Sciences)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Host cellular protein substrates of SARS-CoV-2 proteases
    UBC PI: Jan, Eric (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Genomic epidemiology and evolutionary dynamics of COVID-19 and other emerging corona viruses
    UBC PI: Joy, Jeffrey (Medicine)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social and health outcomes among young people: A mixed-method comparative analysis in Canada and France
    UBC PI: Knight, Rodney E (Medicine)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • The role of interleukin-10 responsiveness in lung inflammation in SARS CoV2 infection
    UBC PI: Mui, Alice L (Microbiology and Immunology/Surgery)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Canadian Treatments for COVID-19: SOLIDARITY
    UBC PI: Murthy, Srinivas (Pediatrics) Co-PI: Fowler, Robert A. (Sunnybrook Research Institute)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Peptide macrocycle decoys against COVID-19 viral spike protein
    UBC PI: Perrin, David M (Chemistry)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Bespoke transition state analog inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 3CL and PL proteases
    UBC PI: Strynadka, Natalie C (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
    Award amount: $ 150,000*
  • Point of Care Heart-Lung Imaging for Patients Presenting with COVID-19 Symptoms: Artificial Intelligence Precision Modeling for Prediction of Outcomes
    UBC PI: Tsang, Teresa S (Medicine); Abolmaesumi, Purang (Electrical & Computer Engineering); McGrail, Kimberlyn M (School of Population and Public Health)
    Award amount: $ 150,000*
  • Predicting the risk of developing mental and substance use disorders due to COVID-19: machine learning applied to health service utilization data to facilitate access to effective treatments.
    UBC PIs: Vigo, Daniel V (Psychiatry); Yatham, Lakshmi N (Psychiatry)
    Award amount: $ 50,000
  • Protecting healthcare workers from COVID-19: A comparative contextualized analysis
    UBC PI: Yassi, Annalee (School of Population and Public Health) Co-PI: Zungu, Laszchenov Muzi (National Institute for Occupational Health & University of Pretoria)
    Award amount: $ 49,626​


All awards: Stream 1 | Stream 2