MSFHR funds COVID-19 research to mitigate effects on BC’s vulnerable populations

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Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on newcomers to BC, urban Indigenous people, frontline health-care workers, and those in prisons or precarious housing is the focus of many of the funded researchers from the MSFHR COVID-19 Research Response Fund, announced today. Other research teams will investigate testing the body’s response to COVID-19, detecting future waves of COVID-19 in BC, and understanding the virus’s transmission.

The funded teams will conduct their research across the province, including the University of Victoria, Thompson Rivers University, Simon Fraser University, and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

“British Columbia’s success in flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections has involved policy approaches rooted in science,” says MSFHR CEO Dr. Bev Holmes. “Providing research-based evidence to inform decision-makers has saved lives and is increasingly important as the province moves toward subsequent reopening stages.”

A full list of all award recipients and research projects is available here

Five teams from this intake will be adopting a patient-oriented approach through engagement of patient, public or community partners on their research team and are accessing additional resources and supports through the BC SUPPORT Unit, thanks to a partnership between MSFHR and the British Columbia Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN).

“I’m delighted to see that many of these research teams are embracing meaningful patient engagement as part of the rapid response to COVID-19,” says Stirling Bryan, BC AHSN President. “This is demonstrating the growing patient-oriented culture in BC’s health research community, facilitated by the work of the BC SUPPORT Unit, a key part of BC AHSN.”

The MSFHR COVID-19 Research Response Fund is supported with $2 million in funding from the Province of BC with additional funding from MSFHR and partners. It is designed to address both immediate and emerging issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and provide necessary evidence for decision-makers, particularly around avoiding or mitigating future waves of transmission.

The funding competition had a rolling intake process, with all applications reviewed for both scientific excellence and relevance to one or more of five priority areas established with advice from BC’s Strategic Research Advisory Committee (SRAC). The funded projects build on BC-specific capacities and strengths, draw on available expertise and resources and include cross-institution collaborations where appropriate.

“The MSFHR COVID-19 Research Response Fund is just one part of a coordinated BC health research approach that is guiding BC’s health research community in a time of both urgent and long-term need,” says David Patrick, SRAC Chair and Director of Research and Medical Epidemiology Lead for Antimicrobial Resistance, BC Centre for Disease Control.

Did you know? BC has a coordinated provincial health research approach to COVID-19. It involves the coordination of assets that support health research, as well as innovative, cross-disciplinary researchers and teams who are working in the short and long term to produce the science and evidence BC needs to stay healthy, and and mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Please visit the following links for more information: