Canadian COVID-19 research gives us new tools to tackle a pandemic

A compilation of five images of strips of coloured paper, sewer water, a graphic of lungs, a person looking at a laptop and a collage of syringes, vials and coronavirus particles

Canadian COVID-19 research gives us new tools to tackle a pandemic

With a new boost of infrastructure support, researchers are poised to find solutions to the challenges that arose under the pressure of the pandemic
November 4, 2020

The research projects supported through our Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19 competitions are on the frontlines of developing solutions to the economic turmoil, altered lifestyles and human health costs that have resulted from the pandemic. Here are five examples:

  • With the infinite number of things we touch every day — especially our own faces — the possibility of contracting COVID-19 by touching something presents a valid health risk. To combat this, a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the Institute of Graphic Communications and Printability (ICI), which is affiliated with Montreal’s Collège Ahuntsic, are working to develop anti-pathogenic inks that will make printed surfaces safer. Research needed to learn how to apply anti-pathogenic inks in mass markets “We want to find a way to help the printing industry prevent the propagation...
  • Testing has proven a major challenge throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To help on that front, researchers at the University of Windsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) are testing wastewater as a way of screening whole communities for SARS-CoV-2 and potentially other viruses. The GLIER team has shifted its focus from lakes and watersheds to testing wastewater to detect the genetic signature of SARS-CoV-2 signals (not infectious virus). “We recognized that we have the infrastructure and research expertise, and we wanted to help in the fight against COVID-19,”...
  • COVID-19 has, so far, been understood and treated as a respiratory disease. However, a growing body of evidence shows that it could actually be a vascular disease — that is, one that affects the blood vessels. Paul Kubes and his research team at the University of Calgary plan to apply their expertise in lung infections and use their state-of-the-art lab — the only one in Canada that can look into lung blood vessels and see viruses and individual immune cells — to determine if that hypothesis is true. Highly specialized microscopes will reveal what organs and cells the virus infects...
  • Access to mental health support can be a challenge for many post-secondary students, particularly those studying away from home, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated that. That’s why researchers at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, B.C., plan to develop and study a virtual reality (VR) experience as a tool to help students build resilience and learn coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety. VR has not been widely available as a treatment because of cost and technical limitations. But the rise of relatively affordable VR headsets now makes it a viable way to intervene faster and...
  • The entire world anxiously awaits word of an effective COVID-19 vaccine, but the process is a massive undertaking, and delivery of a vaccine that is effective for everyone everywhere is complicated. With new funding from the CFI, researchers at Dalhousie University, along with Halifax’s IWK Health Centre, Canadian Center for Vaccinology and Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, are upgrading two facilities to be able to safely work with the virus to pave the way for that process to run smoothly in eastern Canada. “No single vaccine is going to be able to take care of the world for...