People we've funded

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Real-time Combined Genomic and Epidemiological Monitoring of COVID-19 in British Columbia

Viruses accrue small amounts of genetic variation over time. By sequencing the virus, we can see this variation and use it to understand where an individual virus likely came from and how it is moving through a population. This helps public health teams to estimate how many cases are due to local transmission as opposed to imported cases. In this proposal, we will establish ways to use virus sequences to understand transmission in a high-resolution way that is not possible with epidemiological or virus sequence data alone.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Mapping Social Epidemiology of British Columbia: COVID19 Pandemic and Psycho Social and Occupational Well-being of Frontline Health-care Workers in BC

Insights in to Psycho-social wellbeing of health care workers during the COVID19 outbreak is crucial for health equity policy making. Untreated guilt, anxiety and depression among frontline health-care workers (FHCWs) often lead to resignations, poor work performance and burnout. Locating systems approaches in social epidemiologic research, we investigate the COVID19 phenomena and the wellbeing of FHCWs in the home care and Long-term Care Facilities (LTCFs) in BC.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Preventing and Mitigating the Impacts of COVID-19 Among Im/migrants in British Columbia: Rapid Mixed-Methods Data to Inform Policy and Programmes.

In BC, migrants make up >25% of residents and are overrepresented in crucial roles as essential workers (eg, temporary foreign workers), yet may be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and face barriers to healthcare access. Despite purported shifts to ‘universal’ coverage for COVID-related care, many im/migrants report severe ongoing inequities, including gaps in healthcare coverage, unsafe living/working conditions, and confusion about how changes are put in practice. Rapid transition to virtual service delivery may also compound inequities due to language or technology barriers.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Managing the Risks of Future BC COVID-19 Outbreaks Using Mathematical and Statistical Modelling.

Cases of COVID-19 have gone undetected, likely causing future waves. The aim of our research is to develop mathematical and statistical tools for the early detection of future BC COVID-19 waves, and to evaluate control strategies for a future wave. A key component is the estimation of unreported cases and the probability of transmission in high-risk subgroups (such as the elderly and homeless). Our mathematical model will determine disease spread and testing policies interactions. We will then identify early detection strategies for future waves.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

The Cedar Project: Preparing for Culturally-Safe, Trauma Informed COVID-19 Response Among Urban Indigenous People Who Use Drugs in BC

Indigenous people who use drugs in BC are facing two public health emergencies: COVID-19 and the ongoing overdose crisis. One likely creates additional risk for the other. On one hand, COVID-19 and its response may affect access to clean smoking/injection equipment, safe supply of illicit drugs, income, and health and social services. Pandemic fears and restrictions may also impact mental wellbeing. On the other hand, substance use may increase COVID-19 risk through sharing smoking/injection equipment; barriers to physical distancing; and housing instability.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Population-based Study of Coronavirus Antibody Cross-Reactivity to Inform SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Surveys, Severity Profiles, and Vaccine Strategies

Most people have had one or more colds due to seasonal coronaviruses (CoV) with the number of prior infections increasing with age. SARS-CoV-2 entered the human population in late 2019, causing the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that no one had immunity yet older males are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness. One explanation is that prior antibodies to seasonal CoVs may enhance SARS-CoV-2 risk through a process called antibody dependent enhancement.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

“Blind Spots”: People in Prison and Precarious Housing During COVID-19

Prisons and substandard housing pose serious risks to individuals and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Limits on physical distancing are associated with disease outbreaks in shelters, camps, and prisons. The high prevalence of pre-existing illness in the settings places people at risk for medical complications. This project will generate evidence of ways to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19 by analysing hospitalizations among people who were in custody or inadequate housing during the first wave of COVID-19 in BC.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Quantitative Isotype Profiling and Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Infections: Next-Generation Serology

We are making a blood test that will tell us a lot of information about the body’s response to the COVID-19, including whether a person is likely to get really sick or will easily fight off the virus. The blood test is will be easy to take, using only a drop of blood from the tip of the finger. The test is run using cutting-edge technology so that we can test a lot of people, at low cost, while getting the right results.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Informing the COVID-19 Response for Vancouver’s Urban Indigenous Population Using Community-driven Methods and Big Data Analytics

COVID-19 poses a significant threat to Urban Indigenous populations. To identify gaps and improve the response, Vancouver Coastal Health Aboriginal Health will use a community-driven approach to examine patient data collected within Vancouver health centres using the Vancouver Community Analytics Tool (VCAT), along with the advice of key urban Indigenous community organizations and stakeholders.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Accelerating SARS-CoV-2 SEroprevalence SurveyS through Dried Blood Spots (ASSESS-DBS)

Phase 4 of BC’s Restart Plan requires community immunity but seroprevalence studies of people who are street entrenched, in prison, or live in remote or rural communities is challenging. The most accurate serology tests are lab-based Enzyme-Linked Immuno Assays (EIAs) that use blood drawn from veins, but with people who are not engaged into care, or who have collapsed veins due injection drug use or obesity, it's not a viable option.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative

In the absence of an effective COVID-19 vaccine, the world is now facing a pandemic. We plan to create a unique high-performance vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This project will test and deliver candidate COVID-19 vaccines and clinical tools to address this societal need. If these vaccines are successful, they will be produced safely and efficiently and then mass distributed, at a reasonable cost, and with acceptable shelf-life.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Rapid survey to assess knowledge, attitudes and behaviours around misinformation, personal protection and public health measures for COVID-19 in BC

We plan to conduct a rapid evidence survey to proactively address the “infodemic” in British Columbia related to COVID-19. We will survey 3000 British Columbians to understand their knowledge, attitudes and reported behaviours related to COVID-19 misinformation and communication. The survey participants will reflect the diversity of British Columbians as we proactively seek feedback from Indigenous communities, as well as ethnically Chinese and South East Asian communities.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Mathematical Modeling and Analysis in Support of Novel Coronavirus Response in BC

Development of robust models of COVID-19 spread in BC that can be used on an ongoing basis to inform public health decisions in our province. This modeling work, which will provide key data such as informing where services will be needed in advance of problematic need, is essential to fulsome contingency planning for BC health services.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Measuring the Impact of Physical Distancing Measures and Creating Paths for Monitoring during the Relaxation Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic

As of April 30, 2020, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused over 3.2 million cases and 230,000 deaths, globally. The SARS-COV-2 virus causes COVID-19 and is spread by close contact. To reduce its spread, physical distancing measures have been implemented in British Columbia (BC). These measures will be relaxed once transmission is low, but this could increase transmission.

This project will establish a system to measure physical distancing behaviours in BC with:

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Evaluation of rapid redesign and resource deployment in Long-Term Care during COVID-19

Half of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths are linked to long-term care (LTC) settings. In BC, 24 LTC settings have had COVID-19 outbreaks. In response to COVID-19, LTC settings have introduced rapid changes to resident care delivery. This study will track outcomes from these rapid changes.

How have these changes affected

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Study of early Health Outcomes in Neonates Exposed to COVID-19 in British Columbia (SHiNE-BC)

The long-term health challenges and needs of babies born in British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. Babies can be exposed to the disease by their mother before birth or infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 after birth. The SHiNE-BC project will use information collected provincially to understand the health effects within the first year of life after exposure to COVID-19.
 

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Risk and outcomes of COVID-19 patients exposed to immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory agents in British Columbia. A population-based study.

To be better prepared for the second wave of COVID-19 in BC, we need to understand the risk factors influencing contracting the infection and its outcome in infected people, especially in vulnerable people, such as patients with auto-immune diseases, cancer or those with transplants who are being treated with immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory agents (IIA).

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

Respiratory outcomes following COVID-19 infection in British Columbia: A prospective patient registry

Thousands of people in BC will be infected with COVID-19. Thankfully most recover, but unfortunately, little is known about lingering problems experienced by survivors and what care they will need. This study will address two key questions: First, what lung problems continue to challenge survivors of COVID-19? Second, what tests are needed to meet the challenges to lung health and quality of life?

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

The Impact of COVID-19 on Cancer Diagnosis and Outcomes in British Columbia (BC)

Diagnosing cancer early is critical to achieve positive patient outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on cancer diagnosis in BC, suspending screening programs and drastically reducing diagnostic services. The patient and population health impact of a prolonged reduction in these services is unknown. Further, as COVID-19 restrictions ease, the expected demand for these services will exceed the system’s capacity, significantly increasing wait times.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

COVID-19 in children and young adults in BC – evaluation of public health measures and epidemiologic support for decision-makers

We do not know how many children and young adults have been infected with COVID-19 because they have milder symptoms and are usually not tested. For most infections children and young adults are important in spreading the infection. We urgently need to find out how much children and young adults have had the COVID-19 virus. The only way to do this is by testing a large number across the population. In this project we will collect saliva and blood from 6,000 people under 25 years and test for the COVID-19 virus and antibodies against the virus.

Primary Investigator: 
Year: 
2020

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