Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

The B.C. government opened applications April 6 for its first round of research funding to help find answers to the spread and control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Adrian Dix established a dedicated research fund at the request of Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer tasked with managing the novel coronavirus spread in the population. Priorities include impacts on rural populations and “rapid evaluation of public health countermeasures” that have reduced economic activity to essential services and emptied 40 per cent of B.C.’s acute care beds to make room for potential serious illness cases.

Henry said the fund of “at least $2 million” is administered by the Micheal Smith Foundation for Health Research, which has been working with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control on the outbreak since early January. Projects already underway include tracking infection spread to add to B.C.’s COVID-19 modelling and developing a test to see who has been exposed and who may be immune in the B.C. population.

RELATED: Canadian experts endorse use of non-medical masks

RELATED: Thousands apply for Canada’s emergency benefit

Measuring the effectiveness of business controls and travel restrictions is a high priority.

“How well are we doing with the things that we have put in place like travel restrictions, like the cancelling of in-classroom teaching in schools, like the distancing measures that we have been puting in place across society and understanding which of these measures works in which scenarios, and how well they work,” Henry said.

Henry’s predecessor as provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, has also returned from retirement to join an advisory committee to guide the new research. The advisory group is led by Dr. David Patrick, a physician epidemiologist who works at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and at UBC.

The four projects already funded by the Michael Smith Foundation also include developing a vaccine for COVID-19 in conjunction with federal and international researchers, and understanding the impact of what the World Health Organization has described as an “infodemic” of disinformation about the origin and nature of the virus that emerged from Wuhan, China late in 2019.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Canfor announces permanent closure of Isle Pierre Mill

The company also announced curtailments at their pulp mills in Prince George.

COVID-19 and returning to safe operation

WorkSafeBC recognizes the importance of worker safety as businesses look to resume… Continue reading

Local governments receiving provincial grants

Meant for infrastructure projects and planning

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Still a lot of work to do to fully connect regional district

Draft strategy shows dependence on on single fibre optic cable route, poor cellular service on roads

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Most Read