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$2.3M given to 5 B.C. groups for novel coronavirus research
VANCOUVER -- Multiple research teams out of a B.C. university are getting millions of dollars in funding from the federal government to propel their novel coronavirus research.
The University of British Columbia announced Tuesday that five of its research teams are collectively getting $2.3 million from the federal government to continue their work on detecting, neutralizing and reducing COVID-19's transmission.
Earlier this month, several other COVID-19 research teams at the university received $2.8 million in federal funding.
"We are very grateful for this additional investment through the federal government's emergency research funding," said Gail Murphy, vice-president of research and innovation at UBC, in a news release.
"This provides researchers at UBC and across the country with resources to gain critical insights into COVID-19 and help to develop treatments and prevent its spread."
One team, led by adjunct professor Horacio Bach, is receiving $395,000 to develop antibodies to stop the virus' entrance into cells.
"Currently, there is no effective treatment or vaccine to control the virus, which in severe cases can cause respiratory failure and death," Bach, who also works at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, said in a news release.
"We are hopeful that our research will lead to a treatment for patients and will help prevent transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19."
Another team led by Artem Cherkasov, professor in the department of urologic sciences, will get just under $1 million to find compounds that could inhibit the enzyme that helps the virus live.
Additionally, Eric Jan's team is getting just over $331,000 to find ways to stop certain coronaviruses from functioning, which could also help in future outbreaks.
"We are hopeful that uncovering the proteins that are targeted by these coronaviruses will provide insights into the pathogenic mechanisms that lead to COVID-19 disease, which will hopefully help us prepare for future emerging coronavirus outbreaks as well," Jan, who is a biochemistry professor, said in a news release.
Another $315,000 is going to a team led by Jeffrey Joy to understand similarities between COVID-19 and other coronaviruses.
Finally, just under $256,000 is being given to James Russell's team to study drugs typically used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes.
"We hope that we can further increase understanding of whether a class of drugs very commonly used for cardiovascular disease and diabetes can actually help Canadians and patients around the world, get better outcomes from COVID-19," says Russell, who is a professor in the department of medicine and principal investigator at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital.
The federal funding will help support the researchers work over the next two years and results will be shared openly.