Local researchers are working to find a vaccine to COVID-19

By | March 20, 2020

WINNIPEG — Two researchers at the University of Manitoba have been given funding from the federal government to work on projects related to COVID-19.

The federal government announced last week that it would invest $275 million to grow research and development related to COVID-19. On Thursday Canada’s Health Minister announced the rollout of $25 million to double the number of projects being funded.

Two of the new projects are coming out of the U of M, one of which is a team in the department of medical microbiology and infectious diseases at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

The team is led by Dr. Xiao-Jian Yao and it is receiving over $597,000 to look at the development of a vaccine by using a technology platform.

The platform is patented by the U of M and the team is examining a receptor-binding domain (RBD) inside the COVID-19 virus.

The team is using the same process demonstrated in previous studies related to SARS, where researchers used the RBD from that virus and found it could create antibodies and it would stop the SARS virus from infecting cells.

The researchers believe it’s possible this could be the same for COVID-19 and it could help create a vaccine.

The second project being funded is a program by Dr. Adolf Ng at the Asper School of Business. He received nearly $259,000 to look at the issue of empty grocery store shelves, which has made it difficult for many Canadians.

He is working on logistical strategies and planning to deal with the social impacts caused by a pandemic.

His project includes doing studies in both China and Canada and comparing how the systems differ. Ng is also looking at how one logistical system can be transferred to other cities and countries with diversified geographical and cultural contexts.

Correction:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The headline on this article has been changed to reflect that researchers are working to find a vaccine.

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